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Full text of "The independent"

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY S3 00 





ffiNAWATCH 



A PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 




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ot TVC as a key part of their motion picture 
making team. Because our 16mm and 35mm 
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CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

24 Taiwan's Social Realism: New Cinema Weathers Commercial Pressures and 
Fickle Audiences 

by Vivian Huang 

28 China's Day of Shame: How Independents Responded to the Beijing Massacre 

by Patricia Thomson 

5 MEDIA CLIPS 

Overstepping the Bounds of Propriety: Film Offends Langston Hughes Estate 

by Catherine Saalfield 

NEA Balks at the P-Word 

by Patricia Thomson 

Discovery Program Inititiates Outreach 

by Barbara Osborn 

Sequels 

12 FIELD REPORT 

Amateur Auteurs on the International Circuit 

by Toni Treadway 

18 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You: Off-Line Editing and Constructing an Edit List 

by Rick Feist 

22 BOOK REVIEW 

The Colonized Eye: Rethinking the Grierson Legend 

reviewed by Ray Navarro 

35 FESTIVALS 

Kiwiland Kino: The Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals 

by Rob Edelman 

In Brief 

42 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

46 CLASSIFIEDS 
48 NOTICES 

51 PROGRAM NOTES 

by Katherine Bowser 

52 MEMORANDA 




COVER: A couple of corporate workers 
size up their company's new owners in 
Edward Yang's feature filmfa/pe/ Story. 
Yang's films, like those of Hou Hsiou- 
hsien and other younger Taiwanese 
directors, have brought contemporary 
social issues to Taiwan's screens for the 
first time. In "Taiwan's Social Realism" 
Vivian Huang discusses what 
conditions allowed the New Cinema 
movement to emerge in the early 
1980s and examines how it has been 
affected by commercial and political 
forces. In "China's Day of Shame" 
Patricia Thomson reports on how 
independent producers have 
responded to the June 4 massacre in 
Beijing and the Chinese overseas 
democracy movement. Photo courtesy 
Museum of Modern Art. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



A Call for Videos aod Films 



13° USB? 



'••^ 



The Learning Channel is looking for the best work about 
the best music for its new anthology "Played in the USA" 
(working title). An anthology, "Played in the USA" will feature 
between 20 and 35 individual productions about American music. 
We are interested in a variety of interpretations of everything from 
the classics to new age, Native American to rock and roll, jazz 
to country, portrait documentaries to new forms. The series will 
he curated by Blaine Dunlap and Stevenson Palfi. 

If you would like to submit a work for consideration, 
please contact TLC at the following number for additional 



|AIVF Members: TIC automatically mails entry forms lo all AIVF members. II you are a member and haven't received 
your form by February I. call ihe above number! 

"Played in the USA" is pari of The Independents. TLC's ongoing project to bring the visions 
of independent film and video artists to national TV 

The project is fonded through the generous support of 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 

and the National Endowment for the Arts 



e Learning 



FILM & VI DEO M ONTH LY 

INXPEIOENr 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 
VOLUME 13, NUMBER 1 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff 

Production Staff 

Art Director 

Advertising 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
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Renee Tajima 
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(212)473-3400 
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113 E. Center St. 
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The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 473- 
3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the promo- 
tion of video and film, and by the Associa- 
tion of Independent Video and Filmmakers, 
Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with memPership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and the 
general public. Publication of The Indepen- 
dent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is as- 
sumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be ed- 
ited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and ac- 
knowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 0731- 
5198. The Independent is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 

& Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1990 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin. ex- 
ecutive director; Ethan Young, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; 
Mary Jane Skalski, administrative assistant. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 





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MEDIA CLIPS 



OVERSTEPPING THE BOUNDS OF PROPRIETY: 
FILM OFFENDS LANGSTON HUGHES ESTATE 



British filmmaker Isaac Julien's film Looking for 
Langston opens with several lines by James Bald- 
win: "A person does not lightly elect to oppose his 
society. One would much ratherbe at home among 
one ' s compatri ots than be mocked and detested by 
them.... People cling to their captivity and insist 
on their own destruction." This quote can be read 
as an introduction to Julien"s cinematic "medita- 
tion" on Langston Hughes, his work and reputa- 
tion in the context of the Harlem Renaissance, and 
Black gay male sexuality. But Baldwin's words 
also serve as commentary for the controversy that 
has surrounded the U.S. release of the film. 

The public U.S. premiere of Looking for Lang- 
ston, produced by the London-based independent 
Black workshop Sankofa. occurred at the New 
York Film Festival (NYFF) in early October. 
Those who attended witnessed a curious and dis- 
ruptive event when, at two points during the 40- 
minute screening, the soundtrack became inau- 
dible. The second instance — affecting the film's 
final sequence — proved particularly ironic, since 
the Hughes poem read on the soundtrack at that 
point accompanies a scene of skinheads and po- 
lice raiding the twenties speakeasy/eighties gay 
disco that serves as the main set in the film. 

In Julien's film, this scene is followed by 
archival footage of Hughes reading his own work, 
with a jazz band playing in the background. Both 
scenes, where comprehension depends on sound 
as well as image, played silently at Lincoln Cen- 
ter. As NYFF director Richard Pena explained to 
the audience prior to the screening, this and the 
earlier silent section were not intended by the 
filmmaker but instead were imposed by the festi- 
val in order to avoid legal actions threatened by 
the Langston Hughes estate. 

In marked contrast, the film's exhibition in 
London had proceeded without a hitch, and the 
film was well-received. It was first shown last 
March as part of the new Channel Four gay and 
lesbian series Out on Tuesday. It then opened at a 
theater in central London, subsequently touring 
major international film festivals, like Berlin and 
Toronto. Looking for Langston won the Golden 
Teddy Bear Award in Berlin and was nominated 
for a British Film Institute award. Following the 
London release. British bookstores reported an 
increase in sales of Hughes' poetry as well as that 
of Essex Hemphill, whose work is heard 
throughout Looking for Langston. The film has 
been praised by numerous film scholars as well as 
prominent academic cultural critics like Gayatri 
Spivak and Cornel West. 




British filmmaker Isaac 
Julien's Looking for 
Langston, a cinematic 
meditation on 
Langston Hughes' 
poetry, his role in the 
Harlem Renaissance, 
and Black gay 
sexuality, faced 
opposition from the 
poet's estate during Its 
U.S. premiere. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



The film's distribution in the U.S., however, 
has been embattled, bogged down in a series of 
legal disputes. Shortly before this sequence of 
events, the Public Broadcasting Service was con- 
sidering acquisition of Out on Tuesday for broad- 
cast in the U.S. and inquired about copyright 
clearances for the poems by Hughes and the 
archival footage which appears in Looking for 
Langston. Julien, in turn, applied to the Hughes 
estate in New York for the U.S. rights to the 
poems. He had already obtained assurances that 
the archival footage was in the public domain 
from jazz archivist Michael Chertok, who sold 
Sankofa the footage for $4,000. Before the film 
aired in Britain. Sankofa also obtained a copy- 
right waiver for the Hughes poems from the 
British publisher Serpent's Tail Press, whose 
contract with the U.S. -based Hughes estate al- 
lows them to license the work for use in Great 
Britain 

On this side of the Atlantic, however, the 
Hughes estate refused to grant permission. Ha- 
rold Ober Associates, the legal firm representing 
the Hughes estate, contested the use of the five 
Hughes poems, as well as the use of Hughes' 
name in the title. Refusing to sell the rights at any 
cost, Ober Associates demanded that Julien re- 
move the poems and change the title. 

After receiving this notice of the estate's posi- 



tion. Julien says that he considered his obligations 
under U.S. copyright law as well as his aesthetic 
options. Around the same time. Looking for Lang- 
ston was due to be screened at the 1 989 Washing- 
ton. D.C. Filmfest. held last April and May. 
Deciding to avoid a confrontation. Julien with- 
drew his film from the festival and set out to make 
a second version for distribution in the U.S. He 
and Ada Griffin at Third World Newsreel. the 
U.S. distributor of Lookingfor Langston and other 
Sankofa films, then enlisted attorney Joan Gibbs 
at the Center for Constitutional Rights ( CCR ) and 
CCR cofounder Peter Weiss to represent them in 
what they correctly believed might become a 
sticky fight. 

Since any attempt to censor is a constitutional 
issue. Gibbs and Weiss cited the First Amend- 
ment and fair use provisions of the copyright law, 
maintaining that "using portions of Hughes' poems 
is essential to the point being made in the film." 
Griffin echoes this. "You can't have a film called 
Looking for Langston. referencing the Harlem 
Renaissance, without a prominent representation 
of Langston Hughes." 

According to attorney Robert Harris, the copy- 
right statute contains "no absolute rule for fair 
use," and he points out that there are several stan- 
dards used to determine fair use in copyright 
disputes: the nature of the use, whether or not the 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 5 



TABOO OR NOT TABOO 

In researching this anicle, I interviewed the 
executor of the Langston Hughes Estate, 
George Bass, and Lookingfor Langston direc- 
tor Isaac Julien (as well as others involved in 
the disputed Although these conversations 
took place on separate occasions, the remarks 
of both men function xs a dialogue on the 
issues raised by Lookingfor Langston and the 
disagreement between Julien and Bass over 
Hughes" life and his representation: 

Bass: '"Given the choices of Hughes' life, 
[the film] is a sensationalist misuse of Hughes 
as metaphor. Hughes was extremely discreet 
w ith his personal and private self. It seems to 
me to be inappropriate to single him out as a 
metaphor for the question of a Black homosex- 
ual artist being constrained by social taboo. 
That wasn't a problem for him. not in public or 
private spaces, only in rumors." 

Julien: "A main problem for Mr. Bass is that 
he decodes the film as a documentary, which 
it's not. It's a play on fantasy and memory, and 
those things are far more important than any 
kind of fixed historical notion of what a Black 
artist did or didn't do. The film is not entirety 
about Hughes, but rather a subjugated iden- 
tity." 




Bass: "Hughes achieved a wholeness which 
made his sexuality irrelevant. His enjoyment of 
his sexual/sensual self wasn't a factor in the shap- 
ing and development of his poetic voice, vision, or 
personality . Jul ien ' s meditation is consumed with 
anxieties about his own sexual self and the search 
for a sense of w holeness within those anxieties." 

Julien: "Why is it that the question around 
sexuality is such a controversial one? I think it's 
precisely because Hughes had to live a life which 
was, in a way. suppressed." 

Bass: "Do artists have the right to deliberately 
misrepresent the life meaning of a person recently 
dead [1967]. that clearly would offend family and 
those who still cherish his memory?" 

Julien: "The question more generally concerns 
the impossibility of having a Black gay identity- 



Hughes' estate calls Looking for 
Langston "a sensationalist misuse 
of Hughes as metaphor." The 
filmmaker considers it "a piay on 
fantasy and memory. ...The film is 
not entirely about Hughes, but 
rather a subjugated identity." 

Courtesy fSmmokef 

within the Black literary arts movement or in- 
deed in any Black cultural movement. On the 
one hand. James Baldwin is exiled from within 
the community, chastised by a number of 
people including Imiri Baraka and Eldridge 
Cleaver. On the other hand, sexuality is per- 
ceived as a non-issue. Hughes is symbolic, and 
far more representative of the situation and 
attitude that exists today towards Black artists 
who could be gay or bisexual." 

In his attempts to consign the film to the 
shelf forever. Bass claims that he is not in- 
volved in censorship. He emphasizes, "These 
are my rights. It's not about censorship. I'm 
giving Julien limits that are about discipline 
and choices. If the film had been made without 
Hughes materials, I would have no voice 
whatsoever, but I am entitled now because 
[Julien] misrepresented and violated me as a 
person and my role as executor of the estate." 

cs 



reproduction of the work creates a competitive 
situation, how much of the copyrighted work is 
used, how much of the new work is devoted to 
quotations from the copyrighted source, and the 
precedents established in legal judgements issued 
in similar cases. 

With the limits imposed by U.S. copyright law 
in mind. Julien reedited portions of Looking for 
Langston's soundtrack, removing three poems 
and substituting work by Hemphill. He combined 
the remaining Hughes material into a medlev . 
However, the U.S. version of Looking for Lang- 
ston retains the same title (an individual's name 
cannot be copyrighted), the same image track, and 
three of eight stanzas from the poem "Ballad of 
the Fortune Teller" as well as the complete "Night 
and Mom" (part appearing in the beginning of the 
film, part at the end). Julien removed the words 
"Thank you to the Langston Hughes Estate" — 
which appeared in the original credits — before he 
shipped this version to New York. 

Two days before the film's New York City- 
premiere, representatives of the estate saw an 
advertisement for the festival in the New York 
Times. They immediately contacted Peria and 
threatened to serve the NYFF with an injunction. 
Pena agreed to turn the volume off during the 
disputed sections. Nevertheless. Julien reiterated 
his belief that he had not violated the copyright 
law and introduced his work at Lincoln Center by 
sav ing, "I cannot bring myself to apologize for 
this situation, because I do not believe it is my 



fault. It is alw ays the role of the younger genera- 
tion to rewrite the history of our cultural icons." 

George Bass, the executive trustee of the es- 
tate, takes full credit for attempting to suppress the 
film. "Copyright is not the real issue, but I'm 
using legal technicalities to be noncooperative." 
says Bass, who is a professor in the Afro-Ameri- 
can Studies department at Brown University, 
adding. "It is my only recourse to stopping the 
distribution of a film I do not approve of." Bass 
gives three reasons for opposing the film. 

The first has to do with legal matters and 
copyright licensing. Although Sankofa offered 
the estate payment of the copyright fee. these 
offers w ere consistently refused. Thus, holds Bass, 
the film violates copyright law . He cites "profes- 
sional ethics of process" as his second problem. 
Bass believes. "We could have had a dialogue 
beforehand, like when a student wants to write a 
paper and goes about convincing the teacher that 
it's a worthwhile project." Because this step was 
postponed, he says. "There has been a loss of trust 
between m\ self and Julien. I do not believe this 
effort was guided by a commitment to the clarity 
of voice. I feel dishonesty on the part of aesthetic 
intention. The whole way the filmmaker con- 
ducted himself verifies that for me." Bass' third 
problem is w hat he deems an ethical one: "This is 
really a question of the use of a person's life in 
ways that are violently sensationalist and mis- 
representative of that person's sense of self." 

In the aftermath of the NYFF clash. Julien has 



not lessened his determination to show Looking 
for Langston in the States. About Bass' efforts to 
stop him. he comments, "At a time when Black 
gay men are the most threatened in society in 
relation to certain debates — about homosexual- 
ity, representation. AIDS, and the role of the 
Black bourgeoisie in all of that — you have the role 
of the Black cultural gatekeeper, casting out his 
net and allow ing just a few things to be spoken 
about. But I think I'm adding to the debates a 
complexity that needs to be heard. And those 
debates have to take place and are going to whether 
Bass likes it or not." 

As the Lookingfor Langston controversy con- 
tinues. Griffin intends to distribute the film as 
thoroughly as possible. Two professors teaching 
film at Brown, where Bass teaches, have con- 
tacted Griffin concerning rentals of Looking for 
Langston to show in their classes. Initially Griffin 
said no. but after the second request, she decided 
to go ahead. 

On the other side of the dispute. Ober Associ- 
ates representative Wendy Schmalz believ es. "It's 
a dead issue. As far as we know Julien has no plans 
to show this film elsewhere w ith Hughes material 
in it. If he does we will do whatever we can to 
suppress it. It's in violation of copyright. It's as 
simple as that." 

At one point in Lookingfor Langston the nar- 
rator says. "Homosexuality was a sin against the 
race, so it had to be kept a secret, even if it w as a 
vv idely shared one." Griffin observes the parallel 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE 
HOUSTON 
INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL 



THE 23RD ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF THE AMERICAS 

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE SILVER SCREEN! 
APRIL 20-29, 1990 



America's most important competitive 
film festival was established on 
the principle of a close personal 
contact with the filmmaker. We pay 
attention to all video and filmmakers; 



especially small companies, indi- 
viduals and independents. Awards 
for features, shorts, TV production, 
documentary, TV commercial and 
experimental categories. 



FOR THE COMPLETE ENTRY & INFORMATION KIT, PLUS POSTER, CONTACT: 

J. HUNTER TODD, CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER -THE HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL P.O. BOX 56566 
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between this reference to Black culture in the 
twenties and the situation circa I989: "Bass is 
try ing to refuse Julien access to his cultural heri- 
tage by suggesting thai he and his film go back 
into the closet" 

CATHERINE SAALFIELD 

CatherineSaalfieldisavideoat tivist and freelance 
journalist living in New York City. 



NEA BALKS AT THE 
P-WORD 

The new legislation that prohibits the National 
Endow ment for the Arts from funding "obscene" 
art — including depictions of "sadomasochism. 
homoeroticism, the sexual exploitation of chil- 
dren or indix iduals engaged in sex acts" ha\ ing no 
"serious literary, artistic, political or scientific 
value" — has been called a hunting license for 
conservatives on Capital Hill eager to inflict a 
mortal wound on the arts agency. But few ex- 
pected the first shot to be fired by the NEA itself. 
The week before being sworn in as the new NEA 
chief. John E. Frohnmayer rescinded a SI 0.000 
grant awarded to the nonprofit New York City 
gallery Artists Space for an exhibition about AIDS 
in an effort to honor the "spirit" of the new law, 
saving "political discourse ought to be in the 
political arena and not in a show sponsored by the 
Endowment." Although he reversed his decision 
after a stormy week of outraged reaction, the 
outcome represents a victory for the art world only 
insofar as it narrowly averted a precedent that 
would have imposed the broadest interpretations 
on this legislation. 

The story broke on November 6 in the LA. 
Times, w hich reported that law vers from the NEA 
had contacted Artists Space's attorneys, seeking 
the voluntary return of SI 0.000 awarded to 
"Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing." This exhi- 
bition, curated by Nan Goldin. presented w ork by 
23 artists focusing on the personal and social 
effects of AIDS. They also requested the removal 
of the NEA*s name from all publicity and a 
disclaimer in the exhibition catalogue. 

Their move was the result of action taken by the 
director of Artists Space. Susan Wyatt. Months 
after the "Witnesses" grant was approved and 
shortly after the bill was signed. Wyatt called the 
upcoming exhibition to the attention of the NEA's 
museum division and Frohnmayer himself. She 
also asked in a letter of October 27 that the grant 
be amended so that the S 1 0.000 would apply only 
to the exhibition and not the catalogue, for which 
separate funding was secured from the Robert 
Mapplethorpe Foundation. Since the NEA funded 
"Witnesses" under its 1989 budget and the new 
legislation applies only to the NEA's 1 990 budget, 
the exhibition w as in no dangerof running afoul of 
the law. Nevertheless Wyatt told reporters that 
she w anted to w am Frohnmayer about w hat might 
become an explosive situation and prevent him 



from being "blind-sided" by developments after 
the show opened. She also characterized this as a 
deliberate strategy to provoke a confrontation 

ov er the issue of federal control of content in the 
arts. 

In response to the NEA's request. Artists 
Space's board of directors unanimously refused 
to return the grant money (which had been ap- 
prov ed in July but not yet disbursed). The NEA in 
turn impounded the funds. Frohnmayer' s objec- 
tion, it turned out. was not to any "obscene" 
representations of homosexual acts, but rather to 
acatalogue statement by artist David Wojnarowicz. 
In his essay. Wojnarow icz. w ho has AIDS, lashes 
out in anger and frustration at Senator Jesse Helms. 
Representative William Dannemeyer. and John 
Cardinal O'Connor for their hostile and obstruc- 
ts e views on homosexuality and AIDS. Citing 
Congress' recent directive and the wish not to 
violate "the letter or the spirit of the law," 
Frohnmayer wrote to Wyatt. "Congress means 
business. I believe that the endowment's funds 
may not be used to exhibit or publish this mate- 
rial." He elaborated in an interview in the New 
York Times. "[I]t's essential that we remove poli- 
tics from grants and must do so if the endow ment 
is to remain credible to the American people and 
to Congress." 

In basing his action on the political content of 
Wojnarowicz's text. Frohnmayer far exceeded 
the restrictions Congress adopted in its final ver- 
sion of the NEA bill, which only prohibited the 
funding of "obscene" w ork. A stunned art world 
raised a loud hue and cry. with the press giving 
prominent placement to the controversy. Two 
days later. Frohnmayer confessed he was sur- 
prised at the overwhelming reaction and said that 
he "regretted" his use of the "P-w ord." Neverthe- 
less, he stuck to his decision to w ithdraw the grant, 
maintaining that. "In looking at the application 
and then in looking at w hat was actually happen- 
ing in the show . there w as a substantial shift and. 
in my view, an erosion of the artistic focus." 

Pressure continued to mount against the deci- 
sion. Livingston Biddle. head of the NEA under 
President Carter, called for an emergency session 
of the NEA's advisory board, the National Coun- 
cil on the Arts. Leonard Bemstein turned down a 
National Medal of Arts, w hose aw ardees are rec- 
ommended by the National Council, because of 
the NEA's retraction of sponsorship of "Wit- 
nesses." Arts administrators and artists predicted 
a complete destruction of the NEA's credibility 
among its supporters and the refusal of arts profes- 
sionals to serve on peer panels. 

On November 15. the day before "Witnesses" 
opened. Frohnmayer visited the New York gal- 
lery for a private viewing of the show and a 
meeting with 34 concerned artists. At the press 
conference that followed, he said that he would 
"reflect" on what he had seen and learned, and 
consult with the National Council. Frohnmayer 
also called the law restricting endowment funds 
"unnecessary" and said he would work for its 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



removal. (The NEA's legal department laterclari- 
fied that federal employees are not permitted to 
lobby for or against any legislation affecting their 
agency.) The NEA chief hinted that his decision 
might have been different had the news of his 
negotiations with Artists Space not broken while 
they were in progress, forcing "decisions to be 
made on a very rapid basis." 

The next day, Frohnmayer announced that he 
would reverse his decision. "I have agreed to 
approve the request of Artists Space to amend the 
fiscal '89 grant and will release the grant to the 
exhibition only." As per Wyatt 's October request, 
none of the $10,000 will apply to the catalogue. 

While members of the art world were celebrat- 
ing the positive outcome of this dispute, their 
joyful mood was tempered by the knowledge that 
this resolution does not put to rest the thorny 
issues being debated on Capital Hill. 1990 is the 
year for both the NEA's reauthorization hearings, 
which occur every five years, and congressional 
elections — an especially dangerous mix. The 
NEA's vulnerability was underscored by Repre- 
sentative Pat Williams, chair of the subcommittee 
of the House Education and Labor Committee 
responsible for the NEA's reauthorization, who 
told the New York Times, "There may be two 
irreconcilable forces here. One is the right of 
taxpayers to determine how their money is spent. 
The other is the absolute necessity to protect 
freedom of expression, particularly in the arts. If 
those two forces tf/e irreconcilable, then the future 
of the endowment is in doubt." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

DISCOVERY PROGRAM 
INITIATES OUTREACH 

Chanticleer Films, the nonprofit Hollywood pro- 
duction company that sponsors the Discovery 
Program for first-time directors, has announced a 
new initiative intended to increase the participa- 
tion of people of color. Over the past three years 
the Discovery Program has produced 17 short 
films, which are meant to function as "calling 
cards" to the motion picture industry. The pro- 
gram is open to anyone who is a professional in the 
field — screenwriters, actors, theater directors, 
documentary filmmakers, even production assis- 
tants. 

During its first two seasons, the program was 
funded by Columbia Pictures and Coca-Cola. 
After the departure of David Puttnam, the chair of 
Columbia who helped the project get off the 
ground, the studio kept the program going for 
another year, but chose not to renew the two-year 
contract upon its expiration. After much scram- 
bling. Chanticleer principals Jonathan Sanger and 
Jana Memel managed to secure a loan, which will 
be repaid from revenues obtained from interna- 
tional broadcast. (American Playhouse will broad- 
cast a series of Discovery Program films this 
season.) 



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1st Half Program 65 mins. 2nd Half Program 63 mins. 

■ Sky Heart ■ Kakania 

Dennis Pies (1988) (3 mins.) Karen Aqua (1989) (4 mins.) 
(Philadelphia, PA) (Cambridge, MA) 

■ Brute Charm ■ Moon Blue Traces 

Emily Breer (1989) (25 mins.) Francis James (1989) (11 mins.) 
(New York, NY) (Chester Springs, PA) 

■ Howard Finster: Man of Visions ■ Suelto! 

David Carr, Julie Des Roberts, Chris Emmanouilides (1989) (14 mins.) 
Randy Paskal (1988) (18% mins.) (Philadelphia, PA) 
(Los Angeles, CA) m Both At Once 

■ Self-Portrait Number 9 Sylvie Carnot (1988) (11 mins.) 
Eric West Mueller (1989) (11 mins.) (San Francisco, CA) 
(Richfield, MN) , p| a y | s Tne Work Of Children 

■ She-Bop John Axelrad, Stephen B.Lewis (1989) 
Joanna Priestley (1989) (7 mins.) (8 mins.) (Los Angeles, CA) 
(Portland, OR) B You Can Drive The Big Rigs 

Leighton Pierce (1989) (15 mins.) 
-INTERMISSION- (Iowa City, IA) 






Total running time — 128 mins. 

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



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Actress Nancy Cooperstein got to 
direct her first film, the short Private 
Debts, through the Discovery 
Program. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



According to Sanger, the program is "open to 
all kinds of material, as long as it is in the form of 
a fiction film. Thecommerciality of the film is not 
a condition for us." Applicants to the program 
submit a treatment or a script, in addition to a 
resume and a short application form. Those who 
are accepted then direct their films, with Chan- 
ticleers full support. 

Sanger comments that the Discovery films that 
might be regarded as less commercial have gener- 
ated as much work for their directors as the more 
mainstream productions. Although the shorts made 
thus far suggest that the program is not fostering 
experimental filmmaking, the producers areclearl y 
interested in a broad spectrum of work. 

This year the spectrum will include at least two 
productions directed by people of color. Sanger 
says that Chanticleer has received very few appli- 
cations from people of color, who. he notes, ex- 
perience disproportionate difficulties finding work 
as directors in the film industry. Emma Jackson, 
one of two new staff members hired by Chanti- 
cleer to supervise the initiative, points out that in 
the last three years, "No minority member has 
been chosen as a director." Sanger adds. "We 
know people are out there who are qualified, who, 
because of industry practices and discrimination, 
have not been able to get in." Chanticleer's efforts 
to recruit such talent includes outreach to produc- 
tion companies like Arsenio Hall and Spike Lee*s 
40 Acres and a Mule, as well as organizations like 
the Black Women in Film. National Black Talent 
Directory. Nosotros. Plaza de la Raza. the Ameri- 
can Indian Registry . and the Association of Asian 
Pacific Americans. 

If applicants to the Discovery Program identi- 
fying themselves as people of color do not pass the 
first qualifying round, their applications will 
nevertheless be reconsidered. "Criteria forjudg- 
ing submissions will be the same as in previous 
years," says Jackson. "We just think that the more 
submissions we see. the more quality applications 
we'll have." 



The deadline for applications for the Discovery 
Program is February l. 1989. More information 
and application forms can be obtained from Chan- 
ticleer Films. 6525 Sunset Boulevard. Hollywood, 
CA 90028; (213) 462-4705. 

BARBARA OSBORN 

Barbara Osborn is a writer currently teaching 
communications skill sand media criticism at New 
York University and the Door, a community center 
for kids at risk. 



SEQUELS 



In compliance with a congressional mandate. 
public broadcasting officials released a new 
three-year plan in November for streamlining 
operations, centralizing programming, and redis- 
tributing federal funds, which will take effect in 
1991 ["Media Clips." July 1989]. The plan puts 
CPB in charge of new program development — 
including the Independent Television Service and 
Minority Consortia productions. PBS will take 
responsibility for established series, such as The 
McNeillLehrer Newshour and Great Perform- 
ances. CPB and PBS settled their dispute over 
who should receive federal programming dol- 
lars — about S200-million. previously handled by 
CPB — by splitting the sum. In addition, a new 1 7- 
member National Program Policy Committee will 
be formed at PBS to oversee programming activi- 
ties. 

□ □ □ 

Ylicki McGee. a producer and video critic, has 
been appointed film/video curator at Artists Space 
in New York City. She replaces Dan Walworth. 
who is leaving to complete production of The 
System, a film on money, power, and dreams. 
Upstate in Buffalo. New York. Squeaky Wheel's 
director, video producer Julie Zando. is leaving 
after three years to spend more time on her media 
work. The center has a new director. Cheryl 
Jackson, a media artist, photographer, and previ- 
ously video editing and artist-in-education coor- 
dinator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 




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FIELD REPORT 



AMATEUR AUTEURS 

ON THE INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT 



Toni Treadway 



When overseas super S or nonprofessional film 

lestn als decide to show ease w ork from the United 
States or highlight an artist's vt ork. v arious oppor- 
tunities for crosscultural exchange present them- 
selves. Amateur filmmakers and cinephiles in 
other countries can share information w ith inde- 
pendent producers in the l.S. about more than 
di\ erse filmmaking experiences. When L.S. film- 
makers meet a new audience, the audience sees a 
broader v lew of the U.S. — and. perhaps, of film- 
making. The filmmaker mav also find that the 
e\ ent stimulates a broader perspective on interna- 
tional issues. 

However, a programmer who wants to facili- 
tate a crosscultural dialogue bv bringing works 
made in the U.S.A. to amateur testis als abroad is 
faced w ith a daunting problem. The nonprofes- 
sional festivals abroad want work that doesn"t 
depend on an understanding of English or reh on 
cultural experiences or cues which are unrecog- 
nizable to their audiences. Perhaps super 8 or 
nonprofessional filmmakers in the U.S. should 
consider these criteria when they are planning a 
film. Or. to put it in other terms, perhaps the ideal 
\iewer in a U.S. filmmaker's head need not be a 
North American. 

Imagine this futurist scenario: what if a well- 
crafted short narrative made by an U.S. woman 
w on a top prize at the biannual Tunisian festival of 
nonprofessional cinema? Some Tunisian women 
attend the huge outdoor cinefest screenings, but 
they are outnumbered by men at least a hundred to 
one. The w inning films from this festival tour the 
country to cine clubs in many cities and tow ns and 
thus are seen by a wide range of citizens. Such a 
winning film would first need to be accepted by 
the festival's prescreening committee, probably 
attracting their attention on the basis of its strong 
story line and production values. The interna- 
tional jury would consider those, as well as the 
s jcial impact of choosing a film made by a w oman 
with three-dimensional women characters. 

The potential effects of this success story could 
b? interesting indeed. Who could determine if 
such a film had a long range impact on the integra- 
tion of women in the amateur film movement? 
W nuldn't broadening the cine-experience of just 
one view erbe worth our hypothetical filmmaker's 
efforts? These questions have no definitive an- 
sw crs: thev are not quantifiable, career-enhancing 




A grandfather dis- 
cusses the concept 
of Hell with his 
grandchilden in the 
opening scene of 
Assad Fouladkar's 
Kyrie Eleison before 
the family is trapped 
in a living hell in the 
cellar of their 
bombed house in 
Beirut. The film, 
included in the 
International Festival 
of Amateur Film in 
Kelibia, Tunisia, is in 
Arabic — one of the 
festival's official 
languages— with 
English subtitles. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



rew ards of filmmaking like cassette sales. PBS air 
dates, or the next grant, but rather focus on con- 
tact, diversitv. cultural sharing, dialogue. 

This dream scenario could possibly provoke 
the angry response. "Cultural imperialism!'' But 
Tunisians, like viewers everywhere, are both 
flooded w ith and resistant to the information they 
receive via the media. People overseas ( both cine- 
philes and not) are very sophisticated at gleaning 
information w hich can help them apply that infor- 
mation to their own lives, urban or rural, tradi- 
tional or avant-garde. On top of that, amateur 
festivals are very careful, looking at submitted 
w ork and making selections with the local culture 
in mind, even w hen dealing with films chosen bv 
known and trusted guest programmers. Several 
times, a 60- to 90-minute sampling of U.S. w orks 
was carried to a festival and only one or two of the 
works were shown. Despite such cuts, which are 
surelv the festival organizers' prerogative, the 
U.S. programmers have benefitted from the dis- 
cussions about the selection process. 

For manv vears. super 8/video festivals in 



Montreal. Brussels. Sydney, and Caracas and the 
nonprofessional film festivals in Tunisia and at 
UNICA hav e called me for special programs from 
the U.S. They usually want a retrospective of one 
or two artists' work as well as a program of recent 
films/tapes from across the United States. They 
frequently request works that can be projected as 
film rather than as video with good production 
values, not sponsored, and ones that are cinemati- 
cally challenging. These criteria limit the pool of 
talent on w hich to draw . since super 8 filmmakers 
often cannot afford prints and much new work I 
am familiar with comes in the form of super 8-to- 
v ideo transfer. 

Additionally, the nonprofessional festivals w ant 
films and videos that are not made by profession- 
als, and. in the U.S.. these definitions blur. The 
appellation amateur is used overseas without 
pejorative connotations by those independent- 
minded and self-funded filmmakers who work at 
home outside professional hours or reh on tech- 
nical access at local cine clubs. They are person- 
al!} dedicated to film and filmmaking, often 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



r 



Here's ivlniLj^s critics 

wme to say... 



\ 



REVIEW 



..• ; T P h c mos. >nn»^. s .NighXme P^ ,S and 



^TERGOODMA N, The 
Tim" 



. a dmi» b,e - rf ", empathy fo'„ all,hC 
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Columnisl 




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To my friends at Colorlab, 

This is just a letter to let all of you know how much I appreciate the job you did 
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Promised Land , and to share some of the reviews we received. 

Shooting in a foreign country is always difficult. Shooting in one with dangerous 
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Even at this level of service, even with the shipping, the price was better than I 
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devoting a lot of time and energj to their local 
festivals and club activity. A U.S. independent 
w ith a grant tor production, some personal means 
of support, media center or distribution access, 
working mostl) full-time on a film would proba- 
bl\ be considered a professional, whose work 
falls outside of the guidelines for an amateur 
festival overseas. 

This hurdle in particular stymies efforts to 
collaborate w ith foreign amateur festivals. Karen 
Rosenberg found this out last summer when she 
programmed super X and 16mm films and video 
works from the U.S. for the 1989 festival of the 
International Union of Non-Professional Cinema 



(UNICA), held this year in Baden-Baden. West 
Germany. Rosenberg called a number of U.S. 
curators and media arts administrators — includ- 
ing Linda Blackaby of Neighborhood Film/Video 
Project in Philadelphia. Patricia Bruck of the 
Rock\ Mountain Film Center in Colorado. John 
Columbus of the Black Maria Film Festival in 
New Jersey. Michelle Fleming of Image Film/ 
VideoCenter in Atlanta. Cathey Edw ards of Magic 
Empire Media in Tulsa, and Richard Peterson of 
the USA Film Festival in Dallas — to compile a list 
of short works by nonprofessionals that were not 
heavily dependent on language comprehension. 
Rosenberg told me that many of those she 



In the political 
music video 
Gender Rolls, 
shown at UNICA 
this year, Connie 
Coleman and Alan 
Powell use 
repetition and 
vertical rolls to 
emphasize gender 
roles in mass 
media. The work 
travels well, not 
being language- 
dependent. 

Courtesy videomakers 



consulted seemed genuinely surprised by these 
criteria. After some contemplation, however, most 
were able to produce a number of names. Yet 
some works had to be eliminated even before 
Rosenberg had a chance to screen them when the 
filmmakers indicated that their work had been 
funded by organizations like the United Nations 
or television stations like WGBH. Rosenberg 
eventually requested preview tapes from 1 1 art- 
ists, and works by eight w ere sent as a package to 
Baden-Baden. The selection included animated 
and experimental films and a politically-informed 
music video. Post-festival communication from 
UNICA indicates that this U.S. program w as well 



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14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



received and a leader in the cine club movement in 
Austria and a festival programmer in Italy have 
expressed interest in bringing some of the works 
to their countries. 

The criteria UNICA works within might have 
been more familiar to film/videocurators or media 
arts administrators if more nonprofessionals were 
aware of the interests of foreign amateur audi- 
ences. One group that might take advantage of the 
international circuit of amateur events is the vast 
number of film students in the U.S., who easily 
qualify as nonprofessional but often set their sights 
on success measured along the L.A./New York 
axis. Encouragement to reconsider this emphasis 
is provided by CINE (the Council on International 
Non-Theatrical Events) in Washington, D.C., 
which sends films overseas to more than 140 
festivals a year, one fifth of which are amateur. 
The 32-year-old nonprofit organization, best 
known for its CINE Gold Eagle awards, has its 
own jury and a sworn statement on entry forms to 
clarify professional or nonprofessional status. 
CINE executive director Richard Calkins reports 
that U.S. films do "quite well in competition and 
are much loved by amateurs overseas."* 

But, like the films made by more experienced 
filmmakers, too many student films are dependent 
on English. An exception is Kyrie Eleison, a 25- 
minute 16mm fiction film in Arabic and English, 
with subtitles in both. Boston University film 
student Assad Fouladkar's film travelled to the 
Kelibia festival in Tunisia this year. Language, 
more than any other film element, brings out 
chauvinism in U.S. colleagues whose attitude is. 
"Send work in English, and they'll understand it 
anyway." While this may be true of audiences at 
professional film festivals in Berlin or Montreal, 
the audiences for amateur work, who are often 
multicultural and multilingual, do not always "get" 
works in English, or, worse, they consider these 
films an aspect of U.S. cultural imperialism. Many 
of us in the U.S. are monolingual sloths. (I find it 
curious that so many film/videomakers embrace 
the "Stop English Only" politics of supporting 
bilingual education, but use only English voice- 
overs in their film work.) Filmmakers who work 
in super 8 can easily dub a second language on the 
balance track and send the original film, thus 
avoiding heavy costs of new sound mixes or 
subtitled prints. Foreign filmmakers seeking ac- 
cess to U.S. markets, on the other hand, are obliged 
to conform to demands for translation into Eng- 
lish before they can begin to consider exhibition in 
this country. 

English-dependent and culturally-bound me- 
dia may develop in a hot house, suffering from the 
lack of exposure to alternative audiences over- 
seas. Surely, it also suffers from career focus on 
"the industry" and related "isms": racism, coloni- 
alism, lack of cultural sensitivity, as well as un- 
critical nationalism, individualism, and xenopho- 

* CINE can be contacted at: 1001 Connecticut Ave., 
N.W., Suite 1016,Washington. D.C. 20036; (202) 785- 
1 136, 785-1 137; fax: (202) 785-41 14. 



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The 2nd annual Charlotte Film & Video Festival 

announces 

1 990 Coll for Entries 



Entry Deadline : March 16, 1990 

Festival: May 18-20. 1990 in uptown Charlotte 

Awards : Cash awards totaling $3,000 for accepted works. Media Grants 

from the South Carolina Media Arts Center, Awards of Merit. 
Entry Forms : Mint Museum of Art 
c/o Robert West 
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



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NewView 

The Most Important Day in your Media 

Previewing Year . . . 

Free Satellite Showcase of Independent 

Film & Video 

Wednesday, February 28th, 1PM to 6PM EST 

Sample works by over 60 artists, representing 
the catalogs of 11 independent distributors: First 
Run/Icarus, NAATA/Crosscurrent, Video Data 
Bank, Women Make Movies, Appalshop, Picture 
Start, Electronic Arts Intermix, Black Filmmakers' 
Foundation, New Day Films, Filmmakers Cooper- 
ative, and California Newsreel. 

To locate your nearest downlink site, or 
establish one of your own, call (803) 734-8696. 

NewView will be uplinked through Westar 4, 
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NewView isa program of the South Carolina Arts Commission Media 
Arts Center, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T 
MacArthur Foundation. Additional support is provided by the 
National Endowment for the Arts, the South Carolina Educational 
Television Network, and the American Film and Video Association. 



bia. Although many independent film- and video- 
makers in the U.S. might well be characterized as 
hheial-to-left by the conservatives in their own 
country . their choice of narration tracks, type of 
narrator voice, editing or shooting style, subject 
posture or gesture, and other cultural cues often 
reveal the maker to be quite myopic. For instance, 
we must question the cultural sensitivity of send- 
ing a film with nudity (or even much kissing) to 
Muslim friends in Tunisia, much less a film using 
regional accents or dress to serve as socio-eco- 
nomic indicators. 

Unfortunately, these limitations are especially 
pronounced when looking for documentaries to 
send overseas to amateur festivals. Films explor- 
ing social issues are frequently imbued with the 
filmmaker's assumptions, obliging his or her view- 
er to be already familiar with the social landscape 
depicted and able to understand the film's cultural 
context. In 1987 I served on a jury in Brussels 
where some of my colleagues expressed curiosity 
about a well-made documentary on homelessness 
in Chicago. The European jurors appreciated it 
much more after questioning me about city poli- 
tics, the choice of interview subjects, and their 
status in society. All were questions better an- 
swered by the filmmaker, who was not present 
and had not included any clues to these queries in 
her film. The film was not chosen for a prize, 
v\ hile ones "readable" by foreign audiences were. 

Changing styles or making choices with an 
overseas audience in mind need not compromise 
work, as some film/videomakers claim. Assump- 
tions that everyone (even in the U.S.) compre- 
hends English or understands visual references 
are patently inaccurate; the "melting pot" theory 
is a fiction. Often audiences abroad know more 
than we think and less than they think they do. 
Rosenberg recalls a conversation with a German 
film student at a UNICA festival, who was abso- 
lutely certain that it takes only a few seconds to 
hail a cab in New York City. This, he said, he 
learned from TV and the movies. Similarly. Alge- 
rian filmmaker Ahmed Zir was truly amazed on 
his first trip to Boston at seeing "everyone reading 
and riding bicycles." He filmed readers in sub- 
ways and buses and bike commuters to share these 
rare images of the United States with his compa- 
triots. 

Another constraint placed on work sent over- 
seas to amateur festivals is screening time. Many 
such events impose strict limits, which leads to 
programming short films and that frequently means 
experimental work. But popular audiences every- 
where often find self-referential experimental films 
not to their liking. This is not always the case 
abroad. There are pockets of young filmmakers, 
particularly in Germany, France, and Eastern Euro- 
pean nations, who are ardent fans of experimental 
filmmaking. 

Missed or bungled connections are not solely 
products of U.S. myopia. While festival viewers, 
particularly in Venezuela, have told me they want 
to see works made outside the Hollywood system. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



amateur and super 8 festivals continue to award 
prizes to dramatic narrative films that look a lot 
like Hollywood productions. Film-goers at these 
venues say they'd like to learn something more of 
U.S. cultural diversity and independent media 
movement, not to mention our lifestyles, issues, 
and stories, but they may still remain rigid about 
what constitutes good filmmaking. This contra- 
diction between intentions and actions may result 
from the limited distribution of a range of films, 
although this may change with the greater availa- 
bility of films on home video formats. 

Amateur filmmakers in other countries cer- 
tainly desire dialogue with American indepen- 
dent film- and videomakers; we are perceived by 
them as prolific, talented, with vast resources, and 
inheriting a rich cinematic tradition. Amateur cine 
club members make films and organize festivals 
out of interest and passion, forcinema, forcultural 
exchange, for diversity. These are prime and eager 
audiences for U.S. independent work. The inter- 
national independent media community stands to 
gain from cross-pollenization. When was the last 
time you had a great passionate discussion (not in 
English) about your film with a Arab chemist, a 
Finnish doctor, a Soviet film student, a Sene- 
galese schoolteacher? 

ToniTreadway lives in Somerville .Massachusetts , 
and writes about super 8 filmmaking. 



FIVF THANKS 

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Film (FIVF), the foundation affiliate of the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of 
programs and services for the independent 
producer community, including publication 
of The Independent, maintenance of the 
Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, 
an information clearinghouse, and a grant 
making program. None of this work would 
be possible without the generous support of 
the following agencies, foundations and 
organizations: The New York State Council 
on the Arts, the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency, the New York City 
Department of Cultural Affairs, the John D. 
and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund, the 
Beldon Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, 
the Consolidated Edison Company of New 
York, the Benton Foundation, and the 
Funding Exchange. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



IN FOCUS 

WHAT THE MANUAL DIDN'T TELL YOU: 
OFF-LINE EDITING AND CONSTRUCTING 
AN EDIT LIST 



Rick Feist 



This article is third in a series, written b\ staff 
members of the Standby Program, a nonprofit 
\ ideo access and education program dedicated to 
pro\ iding artists and independent producers w ith 
sophisticated video sen ices they can afford. 
Standb\ 's technicians are artists themselves and 
therefore offer \ ital understanding and sympa- 
thetic collaboration. Since 1983. works made 
possible b\ Standbv have been broadcast on the 
Public Broadcasting Sen ice. as well as European 
and Japanese tele\ ision. and have been exhibited 
in museums and galleries worldwide. The infor- 



mation presented here and in future articles should 
help \ ou make appropriate technical decisions to 
suit your aesthetic and budgetary needs. 

The first two chapters of this editing guide 
re\ lewed video recording formats and time code. 
This article examines a variety of questions that 
face producers embarking on an off-line edit. An 
understanding of time code is crucial to the dis- 
cussion that follows, and readers ma> want to 
refer to the article on that topic, published in the 
October 1989 issue o(The Independent* 



* Copies of this issue are available b> mail for S5 from 
AIVF.625 Broadwav. 9th floor. New York. N.Y. 10012. 



OFF-LINE BASICS 

Much of the work entailed in off-line editing can 
be considered a rehearsal for the on-line edit. Off- 
line systems consist of 3/4" or VHS formats, 
w hich are less expensive to rent or even purchase 
than broadcast quality equipment. Editing of the 
videotape occurs off-line. The tape is then con- 
formed on the higher quality machinery at the on- 
line facility. First timers usually book less than 
half of the time they actually use on-line. Feeling 
pressured by the ticking clock, the wish list is then 
abandoned, color corrections are fudged to save 
time, and audio remains in the mix that nobody 
understands except you and the editor. You pay 



HOW TO READ AN EDIT LIST 


Each time an ec 


it is made on 


-line it is stored in the edit list. The edit list can be printed out and looks 


separately, such as A 1 or A2. A alone means 


like thi 


s: 
















audio track 1. while A A stands for both 
















TITLE: YOUR EDIT LIST 


audio tracks. B stands for both, meaning 














FCM*: NON-DROP FRAME 


video and audio track 1 . AA/V is video and 
both audio tracks. 

Column 4 indicates whether the edit is a cut 


1 


z 


3 


4 




5 


6 


7 


8 


001 


AUX 


AA/V 


C 




00:00:00:00 


00:01:30:00 


01:37:00:00 


01:38:30:00 


(C), a dissolve (Di. or a wipe (W). Wipes 


002 


BLK 


B 


C 




00:00:00:00 


00:00:00:00 


01:39:00:00 


01:39:00:00 


and dissolves always take two lines because 
they involve two reels, known as the from 
(first line) and the to (second line) sources. 


002 


001 


B 


D 


020 


01:07:43:16 


01:08:04:08 


01:39:00:00 


01:39:20:22 


003 


011 


A2 


C 




03:21:11:20 


03:21:49:26 


01:39:00:00 


01:39:38:06 


Such a transition always begins with a cut to 


004 


004 


A 


c 




02:^:18:16 


02:22:21:10 


01:39:00:10 


01:39:03:04 


the front source (often a match edit) which 


005 


002 


A 


c 




00:03:01:04 


00:03:04:04 


01:39:13:28 


01:39:16:28 


then dissolves or wipes to the to source. The 
D or YV on the low er line indicates a dissolve 


006 


001 


B 


c 




01:14:31:08 


01:14:44:12 


01:39:20:22 


01:39:33:26 


or wipe, and the number after it is the rate of 


007 


002 


V 


c 




00:03:06:02 


00:03:10:04 


01:39:23:08 


01:39:27:10 


the transition in frames. 


008 


001 


B 


c 




01:25:17:20 


01:25:23:20 


01:39:33:26 


01:39:39:26 


Column 5 is the in-point of the source reel 


009 


001 


V 


c 




01:25:23:20 


01:25:23:20 


01:39:39:26 


01:39:39:26 


iisted in the second column. 


009 


001B 


V 


D 


010 


02:04:07:16 


02:04:09:00 


01:39:39:26 


01:39:41:10 


Column 6 is the out-point. 


010 


001 


V 


C 




02:21:24:08 


02:21:26:14 


01:39:41:10 


01:39:43:16 


Columns 7 and 8 are the in-points and out- 
points of the record master. The master 
starts as a basic with its own time code. The 


* FCM 


= frame code mode. 












Column 1 is the event number. This is the num- 
ber of the edit. 


auxilliary source, such as color bars or title 
camera. 


duration can be figured by subtracting the in- 
point from the out-point. It should match the 
duration of similiar subtraction of the source 


Column 2 is the reel number of the source tape. Column 3 is the kind of edit, video, audio, or both. 


points ;/the time code is non-drop frame. 


BLK means 


black, and AUX designates an 


Some edit systems designate 


the audio tracks 





18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



for this misery by the hour. To alleviate such 
woes, it may be useful to regard off-line and on- 
line editing as a continual process, with care taken 
throughout to maximize one's resources. 

The rule of thumb is to make an off-line edit 
using window dubs. These are work copies of the 
original production tapes with a visual burn-in of 
the time code numbers superimposed over the 
picture. Window dubs are generally done on 3/4" 
or VHS tapes, depending on the off-line editing 
system. 

An additional reason to make these working 
dubs is that it's important to play your original 
source tapes as rarely as possible, since each time 
you do drop-outs occur. Drop-outs are places on 
the tape where the magnetic coating has worn off; 
they appear as slight white lines on the screen. 
Drop-outs on VHS, 8mm. and other small format 
tapes usually cannot be removed. Drop-outs on 3/ 
4" tapes can be corrected only on the original. 
Once a drop-out is recorded onto another tape, it 
becomes part of the video image. 

Before making window dubs, number all source 
tapes. Numbering each reel sequentially, starting 
at one, ensures compatibility with just about any 
computer system. Request that your reel numbers 
be reflected in the hour number of the time code. 
Have reel one start at 01:00:00:00. reel two at 
02:00:00:00, and so on. This helps in identifying 
the tapes later. 

Make a log of the source material reel by reel, 
shot by shot. Then make a paper edit — a list of 
"selects" that reflects the sequence of the shots 
you are considering using. Always reference 
material by reel number and time code numbers. 

BUILDING AN EDIT LIST 

The edit made off-line is called a rough cut. An 
edit list is made from the rough cut by noting the 
time code numbers of the in-point and out-point 
of each edited segment. The in-point is where a 
shot begins: the out-point indicates where it will 
end. You need a VCR with a good jog controller 
to find the exact frames. 

The edit list constitutes a mathematical map of 
the edited videotape. A computer uses time code 
numbers to construct the tape, edit by edit. An edit 
list also includes the reel number for each shot, as 
well as the kind of edit — video, audio, or both. 

Plan your list to do video inserts on-line the 
way you did them off-line. Record a shot for its 
entire length, then go back and do the inserts. You 
can always set up two edits, one for picture and 
one for sound. Time code guarantees that they will 
remain synchronous. 

At the on-line session, the record master begins 
as a basic — a tape recorded with video black, 
control track, and time code. Each playback reel is 
set up and the time code numbers for the shot 
desired are typed into the edit computer. When an 
edit is performed, the computer will store the time 
code in-point and out-point of both the source tape 
and the record master. The list of edits is known as 



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THE INDEPENDENT 19 



the EDL, or edil decision list. I he list resides in 
the computer's rncmorj and an) edil ma> be 
performed again h> selecting il from the list. 
Redoing an edn from the list is to assemble the 
edit. 

The edit list ma) be stored on flopp) disk or 
printed on paper Although man) producers imag- 
ine bringing then edit lists to the on-line editor on 
a flopp) disk and assembling their enure show 
automatically, this approach is rarel) successful, 
The list must be in the proper format for the 
editing computer: on-line edit computers are 
minicomputer systems with a special eight-inch 
floppy disk format (RT-ll). Usually edits are 
performed one at a time to catch an) mistakes or 
omissions m the list. Bring your rough cut to the 
on-line sessions. You can even record it on the 
master at the beginning of the session and till it in 
shot by shot. Any errors in transcription will be 
immediatel) apparent. 

Editing computers are increasingly available 
for off-line work, as features once reserved for 
professional production are incorporated into 
consumer video equipment and PCs. Frame accu- 
rate editing u ith time code will soon be an off-line 
capability . These computerized S) stems will also 
produce an edit list for direct use on-line. To work 
properly, the edit list must be clean — free of 
duplicate edits and over-records (recording an 
image past its out-point). When a rough cut must 
be copied to shorten or lengthen the middle of the 



tape, a computerized s> stem can emplo) a trace 
program to retrieve the time code numbers from 
the first master and place them in the correct place 
in the new edit list. 



CAVEAT VIDEOGRAPHER 

The fiction that on-line editing is a fully auto- 
mated process has been circulating for years. But 
when you work in a broadcast studio, you will be 
faced w ith constant decisions lor determining the 
final form of the work. Some of the the choices can 
only be approximated off-line and will require 
time at the on-line session. 

For instance, even the best camera work re- 
quires some adjustment in levels. Bad camera 
work may require hours of adjustment and correc- 
tion. Some material cannot be saved. Time base 
correctors permit only corrections in the basic 
image. What can be adjusted are image brightness 
and darkness levels (luminance and set-up, re- 
spectively), which set the contrast; the chroma, 
which affects color saturation; and the hue, which 
determines the overall tint. Color bars are used to 
standardize these set-ups for each tape. If you fail 
to record them (home format cameras, unfortu- 
nately, are not even capable of generating them), 
judgement about color can become a time-con- 
suming nightmare. 

In addition, the audio levels must be set for 



each edit that entails sound. Sound accompanying 
a succession of shots is often faded and crossfaded 
to cover changes in ambience. Perhaps the 
director's voice can be heard in the background, 
instructing the actors — a piece of ambient sound 
from the same location must be slugged in to 
cover it. Because too often a producer first hears 
such problems on the higher quality monitoring 
system at the on-line studio, these kinds of delays 
should be taken into account when budgetting for 
on-line editing. 

Although everyone agrees that audio is as 
important as video, it is usually done last and less 
carefully. Edit points for audio should be decided 
as thoughtfully and the edits made as exactly as 
those for video. But the audio edit often begins or 
ends in a different place than the video that runs 
with it. Use the corresponding time code number 
from the video image as a reference for where the 
audio starts. You can give the on-line editor this 
number directly or calculate the duration from the 
nearest video in-point and out-point. 

All type you want to appear on the screen 
should be dealt with in advance of the on-line edit. 
Type out your titles and check the spelling. You 
don't want to call people you hardly know in the 
middle of the night to ask them how they spell 
their names. While preparing titles, remember 
that character generators can accommodate only 
20 to 30 characters per line with their smallest 
fonts. An interviewee's elaborate job title may not 



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20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



squeeze into one line. Subtitle plates are subject to 
the same restriction. Type them with line breaks, 
and make sure that someone who knows the 
language on the tape's soundtrack can call out title 
changes during the session. 

Dissolves and superimpositions are created by 
playing back the two (or more) shots involved at 
the same time and mixing them in a switcher. To 
do this, the shots must be on different tapes. If the 
shots are on the same tape, one of them must be 
copied onto what is called a lay-off reel. 

Complex effects can also be constructed on a 
separate reel and played back for inclusion in the 
edit master. These are variously know as pre- 
build or element reels. It is difficult to recreate 
effects (there are certain things a computer cannot 
store). Such pre-recorded effects can be used like 
any playback reel, allowing for some revision 
with a match edit. 

If you fail to design your visual effects before- 
hand, don't expect instant video poetry when 
improvising by the pick-and-choose method. If 
you can't describe the effect you want verbally, 
make a storyboard. You may have to restrict your 
imagination by the relative timings and durations 
of each of the shots involved. 

The video image is a rectangular, two-dimen- 
sional compostion. Two images will not fit next to 
each other full screen without cropping (or grossly 
distorting) them. If you failed to plan for this 
alteration in framing during production, it might 
not work. When an image is reduced in size, black 
borders appear — unless you plan to put some- 
thing behind the rectangle of the frame. As of this 
writing, there is no machine that can interpolate 
what was outside the original framing. And im- 
agery deteriorates rapidly when enlarged. Don't 
expect to make that close-up you missed in pro- 
duction with an enlargement of a long-shot. Ef- 
fects should not be used to cover problems. If you 
think you want an effect because you are having 
trouble with a transition between shots, think 
again. An egregious effect is far worse than an 
abrupt cut. 

If an audio mix is necessary, the two audio 
tracks of the edit master are used separately to 
allow sound overlaps and balancing levels. These 
two tracks become source tracks for the mix, to 
which music and effects will be added. Don't 
expect to squeeze all the sound into these two 
tracks. If you do, there will be no time for transi- 
tions and changes in the audio will seem uneven. 

Video is synchronized by means of the control 
track, which consists of a series of pulses marking 
each frame. When a videotape is copied or dubbed, 
the control track ensures that the copy will be 
frame-for-frame synchronous with the original 
tape. Material copied onto videotape from an 
audiocassette or 1/4" audiotape or phonograph, 
however, has no comparable control and will not 
run two times at exactly the same speed. When 
you want to edit video in relation to music, requir- 
ing frame accurate alignment, the picture and 
sound correspondence will not be maintained 
from the rough cut to the on-line if you transfer the 



sound from the orginal record or audiotape. To 
avoid this problem, transfer the music to a time- 
coded format before beginning the off-line edit. 
Request a window dub of the transfer to use for 
off-line work. Then the rough cut music will be 
frame accurate with the music on the edit master. 
This method should save you a great deal of on- 
line time, since you won't have to refigure your 
edit points. 

How long will the on-line edit take? Your 
postproduction budget varies in accordance with 
how decisive you are during the off-line edit and 
how well you can translate these decisions into an 
edit list. If you postpone decisions until you're in 
the midst of the on-line session, you may not have 
the time to fully consider your options. Although 
sophisticated editing computers are capable of 
remarkably rapid manipulation, on-line video 
editing still requires human intervention — even 
skill — and what you achieve with these tools 
depends on how you do your homework. 

Rick Feist is an on-line editor and a member of the 
Standby Program. 

© 1990 The Standby Program 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



BOOK REVIEW 



A TOTALITARIAN FOR GOOD 



1 'he Colonized Eye: Rethinking the Grierson 

Legend 

by .low < Nelson, Toronto. Ontario Between the 

Lines, 1988. 197 pp., $31.95 Canadian (cloth). 

SI 2 95 Canadian (paper) 



Ray Navarro 



\\ hy do men make mistakes Bet ause an important part 
of human behaviour is reaction to the p/< lures in their 
heads 

— Walter Lippmunn {The Public Philosophy) 

In her important contribution to the history of 
documentary film. Joyce Nelson attempts to de- 
code almost every extant myth about the legen- 
dary John Grierson. founder of the National Film 
Board of Canada (NFB). From Grierson's "pro- 
gressive" implementation of rural and union film 
circuits in the early 1940s to his near-blacklisting 
during the spy scandal that erupted in 1 945 when 
a Soviet cipher clerk named Igor Gouzenko de- 
fected, the ghost of Grierson is found to haunt the 
entire edifice of twentieth-century Canadian his- 
tory. Nelson manages to exorcise this ghost as she 
traces its effects, but something remains: the drive 
and spirit of an inspired and crafty organizer, a 
man who. in Nelson's words, did for multina- 
tional capitalism "what Eisenstein, Pudovkin and 
others did for the Bolshevik revolution, what 
Goebbels would attempt to do for Hitler's Na- 
tional Socialism...." 

Grierson is usually presented by film historians 
as an exemplary figure, as well as the standard 
bearer of the NFB*s reformist orientation. But in 
Nelson's account he emerges as a key figure in 
perpetuating a colonial mentality among Canadi- 
ans. Through detailed research and tightly woven 
argument. Nelson not only takes to task Grierson's 
image as a social crusader — a self-proclaimed 
"totalitarian for the good" — but implicitly, chal- 
lenges the NFB's purpose, its "role in interpreting 
Canada to Canadians and to the rest of the world." 

Presented as a sequence of nine chapters, which 
read more like nine interrelated essays. Nelson 
unfolds a complex story of backroom bargains, 
friends in high places, and moral crusades. Grier- 
son first appears on the Canadian scene during 
World War I. visiting the British dominion as a 
Rockefeller Fellow . At the time, he was an ambi- 
tious young Scot w ith a keen interest in studying 
the new methods of mass communication and 
control of public opinion, epitomized by the 
"yellow press" of tycoon William Randolph 
Hearst. Importantly. Nelson begins with this 
encounter, but not without a full account of Can- 
ada as a nation fraught with labor unrest, subject 



to the influence of an early form of multinational 
capitalism bent on controlling the national econ- 
omy by fabricating a partnership between capital 
and labor. 

While visiting the U.S. in the mid-twenties, 
Grierson met Walter Lippmann. the liberal jour- 
nalist-philosopher, who convinced him that mo- 
tion pictures contained the greatest potential for 
persuading the masses to accept the divine logicpf 
progressive capitalism. Convinced of film's 
preeminent role, Grierson headed for Hollywood, 
w here he studied the box office records of Famous 
Players and the policies of the Motion Picture 




Association of America, before heading back to 
his native Great Britain. His mind was set on 
convincing his new employer, the Empire Mar- 
keting Board (EMB ). to accept his proposal to use 
film as a means to "change the meaning of the 
word Empire." 

The early chapters of The Colonized Eye estab- 
lish this crucial historical precedent for Grierson's 
later activities as founding director of the NFB. 
For example, in the second chapter, entitled "The 
Age of Consent." the author stresses Grierson's 
familiarity with Hollywood's "vertical integra- 
tion" system, wherein all aspects of film produc- 
tion, distribution, and exhibition were controlled 
by a small group of U.S. companies w ith a global 
reach. This familiarity later had far-reaching ef- 
fects on the Canadian film scene, as guided by 
Grierson's recommendations for the mission and 
structure of the nascent NFB. While other nations 



enacted laws that set stringent controls on the 
importation of U.S. films in order to encourage 
domestic productions. Grierson advocated the 
development of "supplementary venues" for 
Canadian nonfiction films. With 95 percent of the 
Canadian box office receipts of the time going to 
U.S. companies, Grierson reasoned that since 
Canadian films couldn't compete financially with 
Hollywood features, they should concentrate in- 
stead on developing the documentary. 

That, however, is getting ahead of the story. 
Upon his return to Britain. Grierson became head 
of public relations for the EMB. a position that he 
parlayed into the role of film producer. In that 
capacity, he earned the reputation of "going Bol- 
shevik," based on his sponsorship of films that 
dared to show workers working. A lateral move to 
the office of director of the Film Unit of the 
General Post Office allowed him to produce Night 
Mail, the famous piece about the behind-the- 
scenes operation of the postal night shift directed 
by Harry Watt and Basil Wright, with a text by 
W.H. Auden. Meanwhile, the EMB found itself in 
direct competition with other newsreel services 
such as Movietone News. To stay afloat, they 
were obliged to accept sponsorship from Shell- 
Mex BP. a British/U.S. petroleum conglomerate 
operating in Mexico. One of the first corporate 
sponsored information ventures, the EMB was 
soon able to outpace its competition as a result of 
its access to superior production resources. Nel- 
son concludes that the EMB film Housing Prob- 
lems, often heralded as a predecessor of direct 
cinema, ushered in the new concept of the socially 
conscious corporate sponsor, since it was funded 
by a gas company concern. 

The Colonized Eye goes on to present a detailed 
analysis of corporate sponsorship of documenta- 
ries that Grierson pioneered — who, with his char- 
acteristic ambiguity, called this "co-operative" 
production. Nelson outlines the political climate 
of Canada between the wars by analysing various 
public spectacles it sponsored, such as the Cana- 
dian pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, 
the Royal visit of Queen Elizabeth and George VI, 
and the opening of Canada's new superhighway, 
the Queen Elizabeth Way, the same year. These 
events reveal much about the colonial mentality 
evident during the reign of the Mackenzie King 
government in this period. This is fascinating 
material, though not the usual stuff of film history. 
Still, Nelson's iconoclasm serves a purpose. To 
achieve a full understanding of the history of 
wartime film production in Canada, she contends, 
we must understand the conflicts between "force 
and consent, nationalism and internationalism. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



emotion and reason." Similarly, we can learn a 
great deal about this historical era and its present 
day consequences by reflecting upon the direc- 
tions in media policy and documentary styles 
developed under Grierson's tutelage. 

To this end, Nelson explores the celebrated 
"editorial internationalism" of the wartime NFB 
films. She quotes observers who note that al- 
though NFB employees were all passionately in- 
volved in making films, they had no idea which 
part of the camera took the picture. This can be 
attributed to Grierson's advocacy of the "compi- 
lation" technique. First, massive research on a 
chosen topic was conducted; then NFB "pirates" 
would go on an exhaustive image hunt, taking 
footage rrum such diverse sources as the British 
Ministry of Information archives or Leni Rei- 
fenstahl's Nazi-sponsored films. Now, this tech- 
nique may have guaranteed nearly total control 
over the information conveyed in the films, but it 
also denied Canadian filmmakers the experience 
of self-representation. Had filmmakers been en- 
couraged to shoot footage of the Canada they 
knew, an important bank of images of how World 
War II was viewed in the various provinces would 
have been accumulated. Instead, wartime Cana- 
dian documentary cinema became dominated by 
a style dependent upon images from other cul- 
tures. 

Along similar lines the NFB films' silence 
about the extermination of the Jews in Germany 
and the wartime internment of Japanese-Canadi- 
ans was right in line with Grierson and the film 
board's efforts to "manufacture consent" among 
Canadians to support their country 's involvement 
in World War II. Another of Grierson's assign- 
ments at the time was with the Imperial Relations 
Trust (IRT), a British agency concerned entirely 
with maintaining the colonial status quo in the 
Commonwealth. While on the IRT payroll Grier- 
son was surely expected to promote sympathy for 
Britain's struggle against Germany, and his role 
as the director of an important wartime Canadian 
information service made him perfect for the task. 

But outlining the differences between the regi- 
mented efficiency of National Socialism and the 
planned efficiency of multi-national capitalism 
often meant splitting hairs. In her chapter "The 
Pursuit of Sacrifice" Nelson carefully investi- 
gates Grierson's writings in order to examine his 
philosophy of technological development in the 
service of international economic integration — 
the philosophy that informs the propagandistic- 
Canada Carries On film series in which the NFB 
proselytized against fascism. What Nelson dem- 
onstrates is that Grierson's internationalist fervor 
has nothing to do with workers' self-management 
but is more in line with multinational capitalism. 
As the analysis unfolds, Grierson, for so long the 
left film historians' "good civil servant," becomes 
more and more an agent ushering in the next phase 
of progressive, modern capitalism, in which every 
phase of daily life is administered and every as- 
pect of productive work is regulated. As Nelson 
points out, the merits of productive work are 



easily exploited by almost any ideology, even 
fascism. 

It may be in the area of labor relations that The 
Colonized Eye most powerfully demystifies 
Grierson's "innovations" at the NFB. In her ex- 
amination of the rural, industrial, and union film 
circuits he organized during World War II, Nelson 
undoes the final proof in the documentary film 
historians, such as Eric Barnouw or Gary Evans' 
assertion of Grierson's radicalism. Her research 
casts considerable doubt on the successful nurtur- 
ing of Canadian filmmaking in these "supplemen- 
tary venues," instead revealing them to be "almost 
completely an artificial concept," in the words of 
Vaughn Deacon, the NFB wartime representative 
rrr Ontario. For many years, Grierson pushed for 
an alternative distribution network bypassing the 
Hollywood industry's vertical integration which 
allowed the U.S. to dominate Canadian screens. 
However, Nelson proves that the goal of these 
venues, conducted in church basements, union 
halls, and even outdoors in farmers' fields had 
nothing to do with "democratizing" access to 
information, but was instead to "diminish [ethnic 
and regional] sectionalism" within the various 
Canadian provinces. Even more suspiciously, the 
NFB's establishment of union circuits roughly 
coincided with the NFB's advocacy of company 
unions, established to absorb worker's hostility. 

Programs presented at these screenings usually 
included both Canadian and U.S. films, however 
the NFB fare tended to be documentary, while the 
"entertainment" on the bill generally came in the 
form of Hollywood movies or Disney cartoons. 
Via these circuits, then, a taste for non-Canadian 
entertainment became deeply embedded in Cana- 
dian culture, while Canadian productions were 
associated with NFB propaganda. The effect of 
this on future public demand for domestic films. 
Nelson warns, should not be underrated. 

During the past year, the fiftieth anniversary of 
the NFB's inauguration, Grierson's reputation 
has been constantly dusted off for the celebration. 
The appearance of The Colonized Eye in that 
environment provides an intelligent and welcome 
antidote to the hooplah. Further, in the literature of 
Canadian film history, Joyce Nelson's analysis 
sets her apart from the Grierson biographers — 
e.g., Gary Evans, author of John Grierson and the 
National Film Board: The Politics of Wartime 
Propaganda, 1939-1945, whose book offers a 
much more apologetic account of many of the 
events Nelson cites. And as a contribution to the 
continuing debates about government-financed 
film production, The Colonized Eye presents a 
serious challenge to the NFB's status as an ideal 
model for national cinema production and distri- 
bution. Nelson's research confirms that in review- 
ing the history of anti-facist filmmaking, film 
historians will often encounter the ambiguous 
shadow of the enemy, cast by none other than our 
own heroes. 

Ray Navarro is a writer and video activist living 
in New York City. 



UGHTHEARTED NATION 



JIM McKAY 




DOCUMENTARY 



FIVE NURSING HOME RESIDENTS 

SING, DRAW, TALK ABOUT THE MOON 

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SHORT WORKS AND COLLABORATIONS 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



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A young socialist and his sister endure hard 
times during Taiwan's turbulent transition from 
Japanese to Nationalist rule in the 1940s. Hou 
Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness is the tirst tilm 
to deal with this politically charged period 
and the Nationalists' anticommunist crack- 
down, a taboo subject until martial law was 
lifted two years ago. 

Courtesy Film Society of Lincoln Center 



Vivian Huang 



n 



'HEN HOI HSIAO-HSIEVS A CITY OF SADSESS WON THE 
Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival last September, it was more 
than a personal victory. It was a triumph and vindication of Taiwan's New 
Cinema movement. Since it first brought a more realistic and intimate 
portraval of life in modem-day Taiwan to the screen almost a decade ago. 
the New Cinema movement has been hailed elsewhere on the international 
film festival circuit. It has received wavering support, however, from 
Taiwan's government and movie-goers, and has provoked controversial 
debates w ithin the local press about what Taiwan's cinema should aim to 
be — a commercial product or high art. While Hou is considered by Western 
film critics to be the leader of Taiwan cinema, it remains to be seen whether 
he and his peers actually signal the future direction of Taiwan film or 
whether New Cinema turns out to be an aberrant phenomenon within the 
country's unabashedly commercial film culture. 

Before New Cinema emerged in the early 1980s, film audiences were 
accus:omed to choosing between Hollywood imports and cheap, formulaic 
imita ions made at home and in Hong Kong. Light, romantic comedies, 
kung fu pictures, and escapist romances were the dominant genres. New 
Cinema took off when a group of directors and scriptwriters in their 
thirtii-s — including Hou Hsiao-hsien. Edward Yan°. Shao Yeh. Wu Nien- 



jen. and Chu Tien-wen — broke the mold and at- 
tracted substantial audiences. At the time. Shao 
Yeh worked as deputy manager in the production 
planning department and Wu Nien-jen was script 
supervisor at Taiwan's main film studio, the Cen- 
tral Motion Picture Company. They persuaded this 
conservative, government-owned studio to pro- 
duce some projects by youngerdirectors and script- 
w riters. w ho then turned their backs on the prevail- 
ing escapist melodrama and eschewed luxurious 
and unrealistic costumes and sets and emotionally 
manipulative close-ups. Instead, they opted for a 
film form rooted in Taiwan society w hich portrays 
mundane lives and concerns, favoring long takes 
and long shots. The group frequently worked on 
each others projects. Wu. for instance, w rote scripts 
for both Hou (Sandwich Man. Dust in the Wind. 
and A City of Sadness) and Yang (That Day on the Beach). Hou. in turn. 
cow rote and played the male lead in Yang's Taipei Story, and Yang was an 
unofficial advisor for the scores in Hou's early films. 

The movement's starting point was the omnibus film In Our Times 
( 1982). Made by Edward Yang. Tao Tei-cheng. Ko Yih-cheng. and Chang 
Yih. the film is a review of 35 years of social change in Taiwan reflected 
through four stories — about childhood in the 1950s, adolescence in the 
sixties, college life in the seventies, and marriage in the eighties — each 
directed by a different filmmaker. Lnlike standard Taiwan fare, this film 
boasted no big-name directors nor famous stars. It did not use a traditional 
story-telling approach, and it didn't fit into any existing genres. Technologi- 
callj . the film made its mark by rejecting the extravagance of Cinemascope. 
Ignoring the producers' objections, the four directors insisted on shooting 
in standard format — a bold departure for a market totally dominated by wide 
screen films. 

In fact. //; Our Times was not the first film to challenge mainstream 
cinema. In the mid-1970s a series of films about life in high school, directed 
by Lin Ching-chieh. employed many of the same innovations, as did Wang 
Chu-chin's filmic folk tales — using more carefully researched settings and 
costumes, as well as other realistic touches. These films, however, made 
more of a splash than a new wave. The New Cinema movement as such did 
not materialize until the next decade, when a confluence of factors created 
the right conditions. "To be accurate." said Chiao Hsiung-ping. one of 
Taiw an's leading film critics and a supporter of New Cinema w ith w horn I 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



In Edward Yang's Taipei Story, an ambitious 

corporate yuppie in the midst of a career 

crisis dreams of a better life in the United 

States, while her boyfriend (played by Hou 

Hsiao-hsien), a small-time shop owner, 

escapes the hardships of modern day Taipei 

by daydreaming of his glory-days as a child 

baseball star. 

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art 



spoke during the New York Film Festival last 
October, "In Our Times was the first film advo- V 

cated both by film critics and the media in general. 
It seems to have engendered a movement because ■» 

of more control from the filmmakers, as well as its 
box-office success." Chiao cites a number of fac- 
tors as responsible for the development of New V* 
Cinema. 

First he identifies the influence of Hong Kong's 
New Wave directors, who came to prominence in 
the late 1970s — young filmmakers like Tsui Hark, 

Ann Hui, and Allen Fong, who learned their craft in film schools in the West, 
then worked in Hong Kong television before stepping into the role of film 
director. The early Hong Kong New Wave offered a complex and unroman- 
ticized social portrait of the colony, moving the cameras out of the studios 
and into the streets and making use of unknown and nonprofessional actors. 
These works were box office hits in Taiwan, strengthening the position of 
those who advocated a similar kind of filmmaking at home. They also 
created an opening for young filmmakers returning from the U.S. and 
elsewhere in the West with filmmaking degrees. 

Second, Taiwan's younger directors were making their presence felt at 
a time when the country's film industry was stagnant. It had reached a dead 
end with its kung fu and romance films — movies that primarily attracted 
high school students and workers and were not taken seriously by college 
students and intellectuals. Eventually, even these audiences grew tired of 
the formulas, which gave way to a wave of violent and semi-pornographic 
films. The studios attempted to justify this effort to recoup the market by 
labeling these movies portrayals of real society. The resulting scandal, 
which was prominently played out in the newspapers and popular press, 
helped set the stage for a new genre with more socially responsible — and 
publicly embraceable — themes. 

A third element contributing to New Cinema's development was the 
vocal support of a group of younger film critics. Unlike the older generation, 
critics like Chiao, Huang Chien-yeh, and Chan Hung-chih had studied film 
theory and criticism and were replacing the prevalent consumer-report style 
of writing — a synopsis and a plug — with a more analytic approach. Writing 
regularly in the major daily newspapers and reaching upwards of a million 
readers, they praised and encouraged the New Cinema directors and 
introduced elements of film appreciation and theory into mainstream film 
reviews. 

The heightened expectations of audiences with increased exposure to 
foreign films was another important factor in creating a receptive climate. 
The late seventies saw Taiwan's first film library open in Taipei. It not only 
provided printed materials, like film magazines and books from the West as 
well as its own bimonthly publication Film Appreciation, but also pro- 
grammed daily screenings and annual showcases of art films from around 
the world, exposing audiences to the likes of Sergei Eisenstein, the French 
New Wave, the Italian Neorealists, and New German Cinema. In addition. 
Taiwan's flourishing home video market, which distributes a wide range of 
imported films — both bootleg and with copyright — helped whet cineastes' 
appetites for serious films from and about their own country. 




Yet another factor was Taiwan's shifting social structure. Burgeoning 
small and medium-sized businesses changed Taiwanese society rapidly in 
the 1980s, widening the gap between city and country and bringing about 
the development of an urban, intellectual, and cultural elite. With new 
disposable income, this emerging middle-class turned to film for entertain- 
ment — and expected something other, and better, than martial arts films and 
romantic comedies. While the previous generation of filmmakers continued 
to indulge in escapist filmmaking, the New Cinema directors sought to 
examine the social and personal problems they and their audiences had to 
cope with in an increasingly industrialized and Westernized society. 

Edward Yang's films, for example, consistently address these issues 
when portraying modern Taiwan, especially Taipei, the biggest city. His 
first feature. That Day on the Beach ( 1983). tells of a young woman who 
marries her boyfriend against the will of her parents, who have arranged for 
a different husband. As her chosen spouse grows into a successful and 
distracted businessman, she becomes a bored, lonely housewife. Her 
personal problems are those of the modern, alienated, middle-class family, 
with growing material enjoyment but emotional emptiness. 

Taipei Story (1985), Yang's second feature, illustrates the ruptures in 
Taiwan society through the story of a young couple's growing estrange- 
ment. Chin and Lon have been lovers since childhood. Chin works as a 
managerial assistant in a modern corporation, does aerobics in the morning, 
hangs out in coffee shops, and yearns to immigrate to the U.S. when things 
do not go smoothly. In contrast to Chin's yuppie urban lifestyle. Lon is more 
traditional and nostalgic. He runs a small fabric shop, cares about his old 
friends, and ignores Chin's advice not to lend money to her father. Instead 
of dreaming about going to the U.S. to establish a new life. Lon escapes by 
watching baseball games on video cassette. The growing tension in their 
relationship finally reaches a tragic ending when Lon is stabbed by a young 
gangster acquaintance of Chin's. Lying alone on the street beside an 
abandoned TV, Lon watches his baseball-playing childhood in a dream-like 
sequence. Along with this fading image, the TV seems to emit the sound of 
an ambulance siren. It is the alarm of the fading of Lon's traditional society 
and the confusion of modern times. 

This alarm sounds louder in Yang's next film. The Terrorizers (1986). A 
Eurasian gang-moll finds shelter with an obsessive photographer while her 
boyfriend is in jail. Bored, she makes anonymous phone calls, thus entering 
and complicating the life of a novelist, who now imagines her unimagina- 
tive physician husband to be having an affair. Suffering from writer's block, 
she leaves him for her ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile her husband tries to 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



blackmail a colleague in order to obtain a promotion. The title of The 
Terrorizen refers to most of the characters, who hurt others with then own 

obsessions— the husband who picks up a gun at the film's conclusion, the 
novelist who locks herself inside her writing world and commits adulter). 
the Eurasian woman who disrupts others' lues with anonymous calls, and 
the photographer who takes possession of others through his pictures Vs 
critic Huang Chien-yeh wrote, "The worst terrorizer actually is the metropo- 
lis — Taipei tor other materialized cities in the world)." 

A final factor helping the earl) growth ol New Cinema was the encour- 
agement from the government. The Nationalist Government played an 
ironic role in this movement, being better known for its conservatism and 
ideological censorship (government film guidelines are filled with rules like 
"wives o\ policemen have to be portraved as good people"'). It was the 
government-owned Central Picture Motion Productions that produced the 
breakthrough In Our limes. After witnessing the film's commercial suc- 
cess, the government instructed the studio to make more use of these new 
young filmmakers. Also, when government research showed that New 
Cinema was favored b\ college students. Taiwan's Government Informa- 
tion Office began to put on an annual Campus Film Festival, with screen- 
ings, panel discussions, and lectures. Sung Chu-\u. then head of the GIO. 
used the government-sponsored Golden Horse Awards, the most prestig- 
ious film aw ard in Taiw an. to indicate official support for New Cinema and 
promote his three principles of "Internationalization. Professionalization. 
and Artisticization." For example, the awards in 1983 for Best Film. Best 
Director, and Best Adapted Screenplav w ent to Growing Up. a New Cinema 
film directed bv Chen Kun-hou and written and produced by Hou. who 
mortgaged his house to finance it. 

However, this sudden outpouring of government support for innovative 
film may have been more an indication of the pow er of the marketplace than 
a sign of fundamental change in the Nationalist regime's approach to 
culture. Nationalist China is a society devoted to capitalism: success in the 
film world is measured solely by commercial standards. There are no art 
cinemas, and no different approach to marketing "speciality" films. The 
films of Hou. Yang, et al. are released simultaneously in hundreds of thea- 
ters around the country for a short stretch of time and compete head-to-head 
w ith the most brazen commercial fare. If it w ere not for the box office suc- 
cess of //; Our Times, in essence a low -budget trial balloon for Central 



Motion Picture Productions, it is doubtful that New Cinema would have 
engendered the gov 'eminent support it did. 

Producing New Cinema filmmaking without renovating the entire film 
industry puts a considerable handicap on these lilms. especially when 
continued government support depends, as it does, on continued audience 
enthusiasm. Although In Our Times was a box office draw, many New 
Cinema w orks hav e fared less well. In 1 985 Yang's Taipei Story lasted only 
four days in the commercial chain theaters: Hou's A Time to Live and a Time 
to Die played for just nine days. In contrast. Chang Yih's Kuei Mei. The 
Woman was one of the top 10 box office films in Taipei. But it utilizes a 
popular movie star and sex symbol in Taiwan. Yang Hui-shan. in the part 
of Kuei Mei. a strong w oman w ho bears all the traditional virtues of Chinese 
women. She endures numerous hardships, rears five children (three from 
her husband's previous marriage), and helps him kick his gambling habit. 
No doubt the film drew in a good many fans who were curious to see how 
the star looked after gaining 40 pounds for the part. 

The Golden Horse Awards that year indicate just how closely these 
prizes — and the government' s imprimature — are tied to box office receipts. 
Kuei Mei. The Woman netted three major awards — Best Film. Best Actress, 
and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hou's A Time to Live and a Time to Die only 
won Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, while Taipei 
S/ory didn't win a single award. As the public's curiosity about New Cinema 
wears thin, the form suffers a two-fold blow — declining audiences and 
cooling government enthusiasm and support. 

Another element that explains the government's apparent ambivalence 
is that New Cinema's social criticisms w ere not evident at first. In Our Times 
and Growing Up, the two films that kicked off the movement, were coming- 
of-age films and did not address sensitive political issues, such as Taiwanese 
identity. However, it wasn't long before socially critical films began to 
alarm government censors. The first was The Sandwich Man (1983). This 
omnibus film consists of three shorts set in the 1950s. The title piece, 
directed by Hou. is about a poor peasant living through Taiwan's painful 
period of economic transition, who has to support his family by working as 
a walking advertisement for a local movie theater. Shao ChyV s Hat. directed 
by Tseng Chuang-hsiang. criticizes the residue of Japan's economic exploi- 
tation of Taiwan through the symbol of a little girl. Shao Chyi. who always 
w ears a hat to hide a w ound on top of her head. The Taste of Apples, directed 



A poor country man tries to make 

a living as a walking billboard for 

a local movie theater in The 

Sandwich Man, the first New 

Cinema work to introduce 

elements of social criticism and 

alarm government censors. 

Courtesy Asia Society 




26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 




by Wan Jen, presents a cynical story about a poor laborer and his family who 
finally improve their lot. not through any help from the Nationalist govern- 
ment but through a freak accident in which the laborer is hit by a U.S. 
military officer's car. 

Unused to seeing society's ills aired so openly and equally disturbed by 
the use of Taiwanese dialect, conservatives in the government and within 
the press campaigned hard against the film. They unsuccessfully tried to 
prohibit its screening outside Taiwan, arguing that a film with so much 
Taiwanese speech could not represent the Republic of China (where the 
official language is Mandarin). The debate surrounding The Sandwich Man 
betrayed the Nationalists' increasingly dubious "'One China" policy, which 
holds that Taiwan is the temporary seat of the true government for all of 
China. 

Because the New Cinema directors were either born or grew up in 
Taiwan, the question of a separate Taiwanese identity emerges as a domi- 
nant theme in many of their films. Hou's semi-autobiographical filing Time 
to Live and a Time to Die, for instance, clearly shows the conflicting 
attitudes toward the "homeland" among three generations: a grandmother's 
unending nostalgia for the mainland, illustrated in her senile odyssey 
through adjacent neighborhoods in search of the path back to her ancestral 
village; the desperation of the parents, who planned to come to Taiwan for 
a short period of time during China's civil war, but stay to endure permanent 
separation and death in a foreign land; and the growing Taiwanese identity 
of the young protagonist Ah-ha, who learns to speak Taiwanese, shouting 
"Counterattack mainland" as he plays with the other Taiwanese children. 

Hou furtherdelves into the Taiwanese crisis of identity in his latest work. 
A City of Sadness ( 1 989). The film portrays Taiwan during its most chaotic- 
years, the period of transition that began in 1 945 when Japan abruptly ended 
its 50-year occupation after the country's unconditional surrender in World 
War II, and concludes in 1949 with the Nationalists assuming control and 
purging the island of "political subversives." It shows how one family was 
torn apart by these turbulent times. The oldest brother, who tries to maintain 
tradition in the new era, is killed in a gang fight. Another brother disappears 
in the Philippines while fighting as a Japanese military draftee. The third 
son, accused of being a Japanese spy by the Nationalists, is tortured and 
returns home mentally disturbed. The youngest son, a deaf mute who 
sympathizes with the socialist intellectuals, is arrested by the Nationalists 
and "disappears" at the end of the film. Hou shows his strong sympathy for 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



Four brothers watch their grandmother on her 
deathbed in Hou's A Time to Live and a Time 
to Die, a tilm that exposes the different 
generations' changing attitudes towards 
Taiwan's relationship to mainland China. 

Courtesy International Film Circuit 



the plight of the Taiwanese when the oldest brother 
describes their helpless situation, saying they are a 
people "being assaulted by everyone, being ridden 
by everyone, but being cared about by no one." 

Taiwan's intellectuals are shown as being caught 
in the middle — longing to reunite with the "moth- 
erland" but ambivalent about the ruling National- 
ists. The confused times are illustrated by a humor- 
ous scene where a district leader doesn't know 
which side of their new flag is top or bottom. He 
longs for the bygone era of the Japanese empire, 
with its foolproof flag — a circle resting squarely in 
the center. Encountering corruption and poverty 
under the new government, some of the intellectu- 
als look to socialist ideals to solve the island's 
problems. The ambiguity is brutally clarified by 
the film's end, when nascent political discussions 
are crushed in a vicious "anticriminal" and "anti- 
communist" crackdown by Koumintang forces. 
This crackdown, known as the February 28 Incident, remains a taboo 
subject in Taiwan. 

Five years ago, a film like A City of Sadness would never have been 
produced. Its existence can be credited to the chaotic political state of the 
island today. The death in 1 988 of former president Chiang Ching-kuo, son 
of Chiang Kai-shek, ended the age of the strongman dictatorship which has 
endured since 1 949. Within the past two years, political doors have opened 
inside the island — martial law has been lifted, an opposition party formed, 
and people have gone to the streets to march for various rights. "It is a time 
in which nobody is afraid of anybody," said Hou. "The political situation is 
just like what the film portrays. After the disintegration of the old system, 
and before the establishment of the new one, people try to search for ways 
to adjust to the new society they anticipate." The political transition has also 
meant that there's no longer a clear line on what kinds of films the 
government should endorse or censor, thus allowing films like A City of 
Sadness to slip through. 

Interestingly, A City of Sadness, whose release was eagerly awaited in 
Taiwan, has been attacked by some critics as not being political enough. 
This is in part the younger generation's rebellion against now-established 
figures like Hou. But it also indicates how far expectations have come about 
what is permissible and desirable in Taiwan film, thanks to the ground 
broken by earlier New Cinema works. 

In an October 23, 1988, article in the New York Times, titled "Why 
Certain Films Do Not Travel Well," Vincent Canby argued that films like 
Hou s Daughter of the N He do not appeal to Western audiences, even though 
they are popular in their own countries. What he did not realize is that 
movements like New Cinema are not vastly popular there either. Managing 
to stay alive for almost a decade. Taiwan's New Cinema constantly faces the 
threat of decaying popular support, attracting intellectuals but not the wider 
public. Contrary to Canby's argument, the warm international reception of 
films like A City of Sadness helps keep the movement alive, since this 
prevents the government from embarassing itself by withdrawing support 
from a prestigious cultural export. This year/4 City of Sadness was nom- 
inated for seven Golden Horse Awards. But despite New Cinema's acco- 
lades, its future remains precarious. 

Vivian Huang is a freelance film writer living in New York City. 

THE INDEPENDENT 27 



CHINA'S DAY OF SHAME 



HOW INDEPENDENTS HAVE RESPONDED TO THE 

BEIJING MASSACRE 




China's prodemocracy movement 
and the bloody repression 
unleashed by the government last 
June 4 are the focus of a variety of 
media projects. One producer who 
captured the euphoria of the 
demonstrations and shock of the 
massacre is Pat Keeton, who will 
incorporate this footage into 
curriculum tapes on China for high 
school students. 



Patricia Thomson 



w 



HEN I HAD LUNCH IN NEW YORK'S CHINATOWN WITH WAI 
Luk Lo. codirector of the June 4th Project, for an hour the dim sum cans 
wheeled by us ignored. On our table instead lay some photographs Lo had 
spread out show ing the hunger strikers encamped on Tiananmen Square and 
lying dehydrated in a Beijing hospital. There were also snapshots of the 
w ounded and the dead, documenting the violent repression of last summer's 
prodemocracy demonstrations. I could sense a waiter behind us pausing to 
look, while Lo intently continued talking about the June 4th Project's 
documentation efforts. Pointing to a picture of a man lying face down on the 
street, shot through the head. Lo said. "We will send a letter to news 
organizations around the world to collect materials. In exchange, we will 
send them information, like these photographs from private sources." 

Lo. a graduate of Hong Kong's film school and. more recently, the New 
School for Social Research's Media Studies program. w as one of the hunger 
strikers w ho gathered in the plaza across from the United Nations for nine 
da) s after the massacre. The June 4 Project grew out of this group. As Lo 
explained. "The situation was deteriorating in China, so we decided to do 
something more meaningful, instead of just sitting there."' They began to 
collect documentation of the massacre: photographs, print coverage, televi- 
sion new s segments, film and video footage, audio recordings of eyew itness 
accounts, diaries. "Our ultimate goal is to form a museum on Tiananmen 
Square." said Lo. "We want to use this kind of material to organize 



exhibitions and maybe to prosecute the murderers 
through legal means sometime in the future." 

I had to admire their energy and determination. 
Keeping the China isssue alive is a daunting task, 
now that China has receded from the news and 
public outrage has subsided. But Lo and his cohorts 
are not alone. In the wake of the Beijing massacre, 
literally thousands of support groups like the June 4 
Project have sprung up. Working alongside them 
are a small number of independent producers — Chinese Americans. Chi- 
nese exiles, and Anglos. They too have to contend w ith cooling public inter- 
est and various other obstacles. The Chinese government, for instance, isn't 
exactly welcoming foreign journalists w ith open arms. Sources in China are 
reluctant to speak on the record, while potential sources in the States are 
either receiving threats or fear the repercussions their words and actions 
might have on family members back in mainland China, w ith good reason. 
And funding sources are questioning the viability of projects that might 
entail travel to the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC). Even so. during the 
emotional aftermath of the June 4 massacre, there were countless rumors 
circulating of intended film and video projects on the democracy movement 
and repression. 

In general, the center of action has shifted from the news media to book 
publishing. At a panel in October on Literature and Human Rights in China 
sponsored by the international writers organization PEN. I talked to a 
publisher who had come to hear Wuer Kaixi. the student leader and vice 
president of the Paris-based Federation for Democracy in China, the 
political heart of the overseas democracy movement. "All the publishing 
houses are lining up to talk to him." he said, adding wryly that he "got his 
half-hour" w ith Wuer that morning. Indeed. 20 other books are due to be 
released by spring, including eagerly awaited volumes by dissident writer 
Liu Binyan and Federation president Yan Jiaqi. 

In film and video, the numbers are less — and obstacles greater. I 
w ondered what tactics producers w ere taking, given the distance, the danger 
to sources, the apparent disorganization of Chinese students abroad, and the 
inconsistencies of reports coming out of China. And what did these 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 




As in Tiananmen Square, government 
propaganda and the students' 
handmade media vie for attention in 
Shu Lea Cheang's five-channel video 
installation, Making News, Making 
History: Live from Tiananmen Square. 

Courtesy videomaker 



producers intend to do with their projects? Who is their target audience — 
the general public? Congress? Chinese Americans? Chinese on the main- 
land? Are they making work to educate a public largely ignorant of Chinese 
politics, history, and culture: to influence public policy regarding sanctions, 
visas, and immigration; to raise money for the prodemocracy movement: to 
create a historical record? This article presents a sampling of projects that 
are either completed or well underway, which show that the answer is all of 
the above. 



A 



FEW INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS MANAGED TO GET INTO 
China while the demonstrations were still underway. Shu Lea Cheang. a 
New York producer bom in Taiwan, made her decision to go when martial 
law was declared on May 20. Cheang had hoped to travel in the company 
of two Chinese film directors who were then in the States and had even 
received the promise of funding from a public television station. At the last 
minute, however, the plan collapsed when it became evident that it posed too 
great a risk for the directors. On May 25 Cheang arrived in Beijing alone. 
For the next two-and-a-half weeks she spent most of her time in Tiananmen 
Square circulating among the students. Asked if she ran into any problems 
getting access to the student leaders or appearing on the square with a 
camcorder, Cheang replied. "Students welcomed the Western press. But 
- yes, towards the end, I had a problem. People thought you were w ith national 
security. This was the danger, not that you"re press. When I showed them 
my U.S. driver's license, it was fine." Cheang said she had no difficulty 
reaching the student leaders and visited their "offices" on the square. "They 
had a finance department. He showed me their check book," said Cheang 
with a laugh. "There was also a press department, with 10 people helping 
out. They set up like a small government, right at the foot of the People"s 
Hero Monument." Cheang came away particularly impressed with how the 
students spread their message so effectively through alternative channels, 
despite official censorship. "Xerox is very expensive, so the students bought 
a hand-cranked mimeograph machine with donations." she explained. The 
students would print 1 to 15 copies of a leaflet, then post them at gathering 
spots around the city. Walls, poles, bus stops, and even police kiosks were 
turned into billboards plastered with continually updated news, photographs, 
history, poetry, political cartoons, statements, and commentary on govern- 
ment propaganda. "The student's print media was quite together." Cheang 
recalled. "Everywhere you would see these pamphlets and 10 people 
gathered around trying to copy down the news by handw riting or reading it 



into a tape recorder." Equally ubiquitous were the 
low power megaphones with which the students 
broadcast their ideas about reform. 

Cheang's five-channel video installation M aking 
N ews. Making History: Live fromTiananmen Square 
at the 1989 American Film Institute Video Festival 
and scheduled to travel to Boston. New York City, 
and Honolulu presents Beijing's conflicting sources 
of news. The government version, as broadcast on 
Central China Television, runs on one monitor, with 
an English translation on a second. Countering this is the student media: 
footage on the printing and dissemination of pamphlets shot by Cheang. Pat 
Keeton, and Lee Montgomery appears on the third monitor, and a transla- 
tion of texts on the fourth. Another monitor with U.S. television coverage 
sits outside the room, while a surveillance camera surveys the w hole instal- 
lation, its signal sent down to the museum's guard station. As on the square, 
the voices of the students and the government blast simultaneously over a 
megaphone and loudspeaker in competition, and big character posters with 
the demonstrators' slogans and poems tower above it all. Said Cheang. "I 
was trying to recreate my experience in China" — both the feeling of being 
a foreigner barraged by Chinese-language signs and sounds, and the chasm 
between the opposing sources of information. 

Another producer who returned w ith footage was Pat Keeton. who was 
teaching English at the Beijing Institute of Tourism as part of an exchange 
program w ith Ramapo College in New Jersey, where she is an assistant 
professor of communications. Keeton started chronicling events soon after 
the death on April 15 of Hu Yaobang. the reform-minded former Commu- 
nist Party secretary, and continued up through the massacre. Upon her re- 
turn, she put together a two-hour sample reel to pursue funds and feedback 
for several prospective projects. In the tape Keeton and her husband and law 
professor Peter Scheckner watch the marches, mill about on the square, find 
people to translate the big character posters, pamphlets, and radio news- 
casts, and occasionally get approached by earnest English-speaking stu- 
dents who want to make an impromptu speech "to the world." The footage 
is from the vantage point of a foreign bystander w ith no inside sources, who 
is struggling, like everyone else, to find out what's going on. The tone re- 
sembles a letter home. Scheckner informally describing the scenes, shifting 
moods, and word on the street of what remains unseen — rumors of an 
imminent military take-over, and later of the slaughter of 2.600 and 
wounding of 6.000. 

Keeton hopes to incorporate this footage into curriculum tapes on China 
for high school and college students. This would be supplemented by stills. 
archival footage, and interviews with a Sinologist on previous student 
movements in China, concepts of democracy, and other contextualizing 
materials. The tapes — probably three 20-minute programs — will be accom- 
panied by a resource guide for teachers. Keeton approached the China 
Institute in New York City, which was interested and is trying to draw the 
New York Board of Education into the project. Keeton is also thinking of 
a more ambitious version that might extend into other aspects of Chinese 
culture, such as the role of women and the educational system. For the 
moment, however. Keeton is producing a short version of the student 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 




A Taiwanese media critic pounces 
on the double-standard adopted by 
Taiwan's TV journalists when 
covering the Beijing demonstrations, 
in Cheang and Jun Jieh Wang's 
Paper Tiger production, How Was 
History Wounded. 

Courtesy videomakers 



mo\ ement tape for Ramapo College's international affairs series, which is 
shown on the New Jersey's state-wide cable network. 

Like many universities in the U.S. and other western nations. Ramapo 
College suspended their exchange program in protest of the repression. But. 
Keeton notes. "I know people who have gone back. China seems eager to 
ha\e foreign experts." The Chinese government is sending out mixed 
messages, to be sure, about the degree of retrenchment underway. On the 
one hand, it makes a public display of bulldozing and burning videotapes of 
the popular television series written by scriptwriter and Beijing Broadcast- 
ing Institute lecturer Su Xiaokang./?/w£/e?y. which implied that China's 
stagnant culture would profit from Western influence. On the other hand. 
Deng Xiaoping has taken pains to let foreign investors know the Open Door 
has not slammed shut (not withstanding the continuing and now obvious 
error in thinking that China can let in Western science, technology, and 
capital w ithout also taking in its cultural and political ideas). 

So. while Su Xiaokang was the object of an intensive manhunt, finally 
fleeing to Hong Kong. China was schizophrenically opening its arms to 
Westerners like Chicago writer and producer Ted Shen. The script for 
Shen's first feature includes scenes w ith politically-minded students push- 
ing for reform. Granted, the setting is Shanghai in the 1930s and forties, so 
these students are fighting political corruption and poverty under the 
Nationalist Government. Still, they are a reminder of the power and 
influence student movements have wielded in China's turbulent political 
history. 

Shen has been dealing w ith the Shanghai Film Studio, which has some 
degree of autonomy in negotiating its own film projects. "They said we 
could shoot as long as it's not propaganda about democracy." says Shen. 
"Ours is neither." The film, tentatively titled Second Daughter, is being 
made under the auspices of Merchant-Ivory Productions, with Shen as 
producer. Ishmail Merchant executive producer, and Connie Kaiserman 
writer and director. It tells of a girl growing up in an upper-class. Western- 
ized family. After moving to Shanghai from the Hunan countryside, the 
young woman falls in love with a U.S. officer. She also begins to absorb 
ideas about political change from fellow students. It is the last turbulent days 
of the Nationalist government and a time of many student protests. Al- 
though Second Daughter has been in the works for over two years, Shen 
saw "The second half could be construed as being close to what's been 
happening in China now ." After reading the script, the China Coproduction 



Company, which is part of the Ministry of Culture, 
raised questions only about a brief scene with nu- 
dity and a Shanghai setting. "They said we should 
make the surroundings less shabby." laughs Shen. 
Although the final shooting script still has to be 
approved. Shen anticipates only minor objections. 
"Film people in China are fairly liberal. They love 
foreign productions, but they have to pay lip service 
to the government, so they object to certain lines. So 
you just put in more lines than you want to use." But. 
he qualifies. "People wanting to deal directly with 
Tiananmen Square won't get the government's 
support or permission." 

Shooting is due to start this spring, contingent on funding. Shen obtained 
written assurances from China Coproduction after one potential backer 
questioned whether they'd be permitted to film on location. I asked Shen 
whether he and his peers saw any ethical dilemma in conducting business 
as usual w ith China now. In reply. Shen repeated his conversations w ith the 
film's lead. Chinese star Joan Chen. She argued that, on the contrary, this 
would help the film studio and its demoralized workers, who have been hurt 
by the cancellation of numerous Hong Kong and Taiwanese projects. "Her 
point was that by doing this, we'd be helping the workers there, not really 
the government." Shen explained. "We want to devise a payment plan to get 
money to the workers. We're in a good bargaining position to do this, since 
the country is so desperate for foreign exchange." 



After the massacre, three dead students were laid 

out on blocks of ice in the lobby of a Beijing law school building. Beside 
them w as a sign that told the lines of sobbing and subdued onlookers. "Don 't 
be afraid to look. There are no bodies here because there was no massacre 
at Tiananmen Square." The urge to collect and display evidence of the 
bloodletting, to bear witness and muster proof against the Chinese 
government's denials and falsehoods was also manifest on this side of the 
world. Among independent producers, activists, and academics in the U.S.. 
the first response was to gather any and all documentary evidence about 
what happened, leaving explanations and analysis until later. In addition to 
the efforts of the June 4 Project and other ad hoc groups, numerous 
universities quickly formed archives for photographs. TV news, film and 
video footage, and print documentation [see box on page 34]. Individuals 
and groups also fashioned video compilations of television news coverage, 
which was unusually plentiful, thanks to the presence of the hundreds of 
journalists gathered to report on Mikhail Gorbachev's historic visit to 
Beijing in May for the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years. 

Several other kinds of responses among independents followed. One was 
the ever popular media critique. These were often scathing analyzes of how 
foreign media used the massacre to propagate a doctrine of anti-Commu- 
nism. (Interestingly. U.S. producers were more prone to this approach than 
PRC Chinese in the States, who generally considered network and other 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



In From Woodstock to Tiananmen 

Square: Ted Koppel's Long March, 

Margaret Difani reveals how Koppel's 

news special Tragedy at Tiananmen: 

The Untold Story presents the same old 

sexist story in its condescending 

treatment of student leader Chai Ling. 

Courtesy Paper Tiger Television 



mass media coverage quite good. ) Other producers 
focused not on the massacre, but on where the 
action now is: the Chinese democracy movement 
overseas. Unlike the compilation tapes and media 
critiques that could be produced immediately after 
the massacre, the material being at hand, these 
projects will be months, possibly years, in the 
making as they follow the movement's develop- 
ments, influence, and actions. They will ultimately 
constitute a second wave of response to China's 
prodemocracy demonstrations of 1989. 

One compilation tape nearing completion is Massacre in Beijing, a one- 
hour program of U.S. news footage with a Chinese voiceover, aimed at 
Chinese audiences here and ultimately in mainland China. It is being 
assembled by a former newspaper journalist from China now attending a 
large university in the U.S., whom we'll here call Ji Jie, and a group of 
students and academics. Since one member of the group had connections 
with a local television station, they managed to get a dub of the station's live 
satellite feed, unedited and without reporters' voiceover. This and off-air 
news reports form the basis of the tape, which is currently in rough cut. The 
narrative in Massacre in Beijing is a straightforward chronicle of events, 
from the death of Hu Yaobang. through the hunger strikes, demonstrations, 
and massacre, concluding with the exiled student leaders marching in Paris 
at the head of the French Revolution bicentennial parade. Unlike the news 
footage on which it's based, this video lays out what the students' specific 
demands were. These included a public reevaluation of Hu Yaobang's 
reputation; publication of the personal property records of the state's leaders 
and their children; independent, privately-owned newspapers and no press 
censorship: an increase in the education budget: improved treatment of in- 
tellectuals; and a lifting of government bans on public demonstrations. 

Ji Jie assumes that Chinese living in the States will be the main audience 
for Massacre in Beijing. (At this time the producers haven't the funds for an 
English version.) The original idea, says Ji Jie, was "to try to find channels 
to send it to China, because these images are what they haven't seen. They 
will be shocked." A coproducer calls the tape "a gift. Here are all these 
images that the Americans got, and they belong to the Chinese. So it's 
restoring to them their own images." Ji Jie intends to send VHS copies to 
friends and key organizers in the democracy movement in exile, including 
the Paris Federation and the federation of Chinese students in the U.S. that 
was formed last July at a national congress in Chicago. But this is easier said 
than done. Unlike most conventions, there was no list of attendees' names 
and addresses; it was too dangerous and many students used pseudonyms. 
No newsletter emerged. So, while Ji Jie can send tapes to the elected officers 
whose names are public, this federation is still more of an idea than a 
functioning network. Even so, Ji Jie hopes that through such contacts, dubs 
may eventually find their way back to Hong Kong and the mainland. 

The problem at the next stage, beyond the very real danger of carrying 
videocassettes into the PRC, is that few people in China own VCRs. "You 
can buy refrigerators, still cameras, televisions, and tape recorders in the 
department stores, but not VCRs," says Ji Jie. "They are still considered top. 




top consumer goods." Available only in foreign exchange stores, they are 
mainly accessible to foreigners and government officials. Because of this, 
notes Ji Jie. it's understandable why Chinese exiles favor book projects, 
newsletters, and radio over video. "It's very hard. We can give them the tape, 
but they cannot watch it." Similarly, most owners of home video cameras 
seem to be the Chinese police and national security. When Shu Lea Cheang 
went to Beijing, she thought she'd collect some student videos. She came 
out empty-handed for security reasons, but concluded. "There's not really 
that much, although I heard about some tapes. It's still not an electronic 
society." 

Cheang left Beijing several days after the massacre for Taiwan, where 
she collaborated with three media critics and video artist Jun Jieh Wang on 
a program analyzing Taiwanese television's response, called How Was 
History Wounded (translated and cablecast last October on the media 
critique series Paper Tiger Television). The tape shows how the Taiwan 
government and media were reluctant to discuss events at Tiananmen 
because of the similarities to a movement inside Taiwan also calling for 
democratic reform — until the massacre, at which point the episode could be 
maneuvered into an anti-Communist tale, neglecting the students' criti- 
cisms. The second thread of How Was History Wounded exposes the 
journalistic double-standard TV news employed in covering and mourning 
the Beijing massacre, in contrast to their hostile treatment of Taiwanese 
farmers' protest on May 20, 1988. which also turned bloody. How Was 
History Wounded sets clips from the May 20 incident side-by-side with 
Central China Television's coverage of the Beijing massacre. The parallels 
are uncanny — the portrayal of "unruly mobs" attacking police, "thugs" 
instigating "riots." and police acting defensively. Sympathetic interviews 
with bandaged soldiers in hospital beds followed, along with assessments 
of the destruction of city property. "So here we are all condemning China, 
but in Taiwan, the same thing, the democractic request, is being distorted by 
the media," says Cheang. 

Given the bad blood between Taiwan and the PRC, probably few would 
be surprised that Taiwan's government-controlled broadcasts used the 
massacre to make hay with their anti-Communist message. It's a different 
story, however, when the same accusations of bias are levelled against our 
own media in the U.S. Paper Tiger Southwest does just this in From 
Woodstock to Tiananmen Square: Ted Koppel's Long March. The show 
dissects Koppel's June 27 special. Tragedy at Tiananmen: The Untold 
Story, which the producers consider "symptomatic" of mainstream press 
coverage in the U.S. Coproducer John Walden. playing the part of news- 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 




reader Dan Rabbit, says. "Ted gives his version of events in China" and ends 
"by telling the Chinese establishments story of events, not the students' 
stor\ ." They show this perspective to be evident from the very first scene: 
Tiananmen Square is in chaos, tanks are ablaze, and a reporter describes an 
"angry, howling mob" descending on a soldier, who is "ripped limb from 
limb" — without noting that the army opened fire two hours before. From 
this tabloid opening to the end. the producers demonstrate how Koppel turns 
events at Tiananmen Square into sensationalist melodrama. They analyze, 
for instance, the segment on student leader Chai Ling, which dwells on her 
perilous escape, not her ideas. "She is represented as weak, highly emo- 
tional, and buckling under the pressure... [Her] vision of democracy is 
somewhere on the cutting room floor," says a Paper Tiger commentator. 
None of the student leaders describe their aims directly. Rather, Koppel's 
"experts" — journalists with Chinese language skills — interpret their mo- 
tives and actions, instead of their words. Koppel concludes with Chinese 
government footage of Hong Kong-supplied tents and alleged Taiwanese 
"spies" to support his portrayal of the students as counterrevolutionaries. 
Dan Rabbit states. "Ted wants the label to praise it and to further support the 
claim of the death of socialism — which is. after all. one of the primary values 
of this story." The concept of a "loyal opposition" is as remote to Koppel as 
it is to Deng"s regime. 

The absence of substantive interviews with the student leaders in Koppel's 
ABC special was par for the course. This informational vacuum prompted 
Detroit-based Susan Jolliffe to produce a half-hour documentary — her 
first — in which Chinese students speak for themselves. The direct impetus, 
recalls Jolliffe. was a conversation with her brother: "He said something 
like, 'A lot of people are getting killed over wanting a better television set' — 
the idea that they were looking for capitalism." Not so. thought Jolliffe. 
based on her conversations with Chinese friends at Harvard. "I had heard 
about growing up there — that there were few human rights, that things were 
very tightly controlled by the Party in terms of what you did and thought and 
said. I believed that these were the things the students in Tiananmen Square 
were looking to change, not the economic structure." 

Jolliffe's half-hour video Keeping the Dream Alive presents a simple 
synopsis of the spring's events, interspersed with interviews with several 
young students studying in the U.S. They describe their personal and 
political frustrations w ith China, from the registration system to work units. 



Lett: China's first internationally known 
rock musician, Cui Jian, reflects the 
mood of the post-Cultural Revolution 
generation with lyrics about change, 
loss, confusion, and personal freedom. 
When Pam Yates approached Cui 
about making a music video, she dis- 
covered this would be mainland 
China's first. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Below: Cui reheases for a 
performance at the Beijing branch of 
Maxim's de Paris, which Victor Huey 
shot for his work-in-progress, a 
feature-length documentary on the 
musician. 

Photo Victor Huey 



and weave their way through a political critique of 
the Deng regime, then describe their first experi- 
ences in Chicago with elections and consensus- 
building. Says one, "I grew up not believing in 
politics, personally. I thought it's a no-win situ- 
ation: It doesn't matter what you do: you lose. But 
when the Tiananmen Square event was taking place, 

I really felt something different. I felt that people — even in China — had 

power." 




32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



Returning to China after a five-year 

absence, Jinhua Yang (center) 

analyzes the impact of Deng 

Xiaoping's Open Door policy in China 

Diary. Visiting peasants in a remote 

mountain village where she was 

posted during the Cultural Revolution, 

Yang hears about their new dirt road 

and still difficult living conditions. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



"One of the problems in the process of editing was 
that a lot of students were coming under pressure 
from the Party," says Jolliffe. All believed their 
phones were tapped and mail to China read. "I know 
some received phones calls with veiled threats to- 
ward their families," she adds. Jolliffe kept her par- 
ticipants anonymous, even though some were high- 
profile organizers of the Chicago congress and local 
groups. Completed in only seven weeks, the tape is 
now being used by groups raising funds for Chinese 
students in the States and lobbying Congress to grant 
these students extensions of their U.S. visas. 

Several other productions that will examine the overseas democracy 
movement and chronicle China's political future as it unfolds are underway 
or in the fundraising stage. Christine Choy and Renee Tajima of Film News 
Now, who spent years filming the court battles surrounding the murder case 
of Vincent Chin for Who Killed Vincent Chin?, have initiated a documen- 
tary following the student exiles in the U.S. Pamela Preston, who works in 
the advertising industry, teamed up with David Wallace of 29th Street 
Video to complete a six-minute trailer on the overseas democracy move- 
ment. With this, Preston is pursuing support for a longer documentary, 
which would be her first independent production. She hopes to document 
"the whole thing, until the government overturns and these kids are actually 
running the government." She conjectures, "There's no reason why we 
can't do our first documentary, get it into theatrical release and into 
videocassette, and then do another one, then edit them all together into one 
major epic." In addition, the independent production company Globalvision 
has drawn up a funding proposal for a program or series on China similar 
in format to their television news show South Africa Now. 

Sharon Horn, another first-time producer who is on the faculty of the City 
University of New York's Law School, is planning a seven-year documen- 
tary on Hong Kong's last years as a British colony and reunification with 
China under a "one country, two systems" arrangement in 1997. Nervous 
enough about their future after reunification, the Hong Kong Chinese have 
been on pins and needles since the military crackdown in Beijing — as evi- 
denced when one quarter of the entire population turned out for demonstra- 
tions after the massacre. Rather than taking an academic or historical ap- 
proach, Horn's film will focus on the lives and experiences of several 
individuals during this period: an educator and leader of a major trade union 
and of Hong Kong's prodemocracy support organization; an architect and 
founder of an experimental/political theater troupe; a taxi driver; a young 
lesbian hairdresser; a journalist; a 14-year-old, shown growning into adult- 
hood; and, tentatively, a lawyer who has been active addressing issues 
raised by the Basic Law draft governing post- 1997 Hong Kong. Horn plans 
to return to Hong Kong every year to film, live there the last three years of 
British rule, and, if her subjects emigrate, travel to their adopted countries. 
Horn envisions half-hour programs being released in stages, then recut into 
a single film at the end of the seven years. She expects to have a 10-minute 
trailer for the project ready by next fall. "Somebody's got to do this," says 
Horn. "It's a historic moment; it won't happen again." 




It 



>EGUN BEFORE THE SPRING '89 DEMONSTRATIONS AND 
subsequently affected by them are several projects that shed light on China's 
changing social and economic climate. Understanding the post-Cultural 
Revolution generation of Chinese students through politics alone is like 
trying to grasp the United States in the sixties through the Vietnam protests 
without looking at the surrounding counterculture. China's flourishing 
campus poets, its Fifth Generation filmmakers, its nascent rock scene are all 
part of this history. Two projects are on Cui Jian, said by Wuer Kaixi to be 
"most influential among Chinese youth." He is China's first musician to 
create a native rock sound, blending international influences like reggae and 
Talking Heads with indigenous melodies and instruments. It was Cui's 
musical sound that first caught the attention of New York producers Victor 
Huey and Pam Yates — Huey when he was a gaffer for the documentary 
Distant Harmony: Pavarotti in China and Yates when she was a sound 
engineer in China for the upcoming feature Iron and Silk. But it is Cui's 
elliptical, resonate lyrics about rapid change, confusion, loss, and individual 
freedom that captivated Chinese listeners — and led the government to twice 
ban his music. After Tiananmen Square, lines like "My freedom belongs to 
heaven and earth, and my courage belongs to me alone" have taken on 
meaning for Western audiences, too. Yates produced a music video of this 
song,/VoMor£>D/.v£M/se5(codirectedbyTomSiegelandBoryanaVarbanov), 
which was shown opening night at the 1989 New York Film Festival. 
Recorded and filmed before the massacre, the video's opening shot is a 360- 
degree pan of Tiananmen Square, chosen, says Yates, "for the same reason 
that the student demonstrators chose it. It's a symbol of China's imperial 
past and revolutionary present." After events in June, Yates added news 
footage of the violent repression, including instances of personal courage 
like the solitary man stopping an oncoming line of tanks. 

Huey also used scenes from the Beijing massacre in a recent 10-minute 
documentary on Cui, but admits, "It's something I had to struggle over." 
Huey has gotten to know the musician well enough to recognize that Cui is 
uneasy with his growing star status and the Western press' desire to fashion 
him into a spokesman for the student movement. "To do an in-depth 
documentary on Cui Jian, you have to understand what's going on in China, 
without painting him as this rock icon who's writing this revolutionary 
music. He's not that. He's a smart kid who's been dodging the bullet since 
day one," Huey explains. He plans to return to China, perhaps as early as 
January, to see how Cui responds to the current repression, personally and 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



artistically "He'll define the edge, because he's there." Hue) 's 10-minute 
video is .in offshoot of a feature-length documentar) which he has been 
walking on for three years. Atone point. Columbia Pictures was anxious to 
support it. hut the deal fell through w hen Dav id Puttnam left the company. 
More recently, Huev considered making the work a coproduction to help 
raise funds, arranging and shooting a national tour of Cui's group. Ado. to 
the ethnic provinces, where thev 'd work with local musicians. But since 
Tiananmen Square. savs Huey.Tve realized it has to be about him." Huey 
now plans to make it more personal and scale it down, both for financial 
reasons and to avoid undue attention during the shoot. "Doing any docu- 
mentary in China is difficult." he explains. "During Pavarotti, forexample. 
it w as touch) filming ev en something as simple as a tour in China. There's 
nothing political in that. But what's implied is that these cameras arc 
roaming all ov er. and w hat the) sec has to be controlled. We always had a 
government person who'd follow us everywhere we went." They also ran 
into countless bureaucrats expecting cash under the table in exchange for 
permission to shoot. Yates confirms the difficulties: "Producing films, even 
short ones, m a socialist country is not about money nor financial deals. It's 
about com incing people in positions of power about the importance of what 
v ou're proposing. Equipment is difficult to come by if you're not connected 
to a state film studio. You can't rent it." 

One filmmaker w ith good connections is Jinhua Yang, an MFA student 
at UCLA who was previously a producer and commentator on Central 
China Television (CCTV). Although her China Diary was not made in 
response to the Beijing massacre — it was shot in 1987 and finished in the 
summer of 1989 — it offers insights into the radical economic and social 
transformation China has undergone during Deng's decade in power, w hich 
la\ the groundwork for the calls for political reform. Yang's hour-long film 
records her impressions of China after a five-year absence. Through her old 
connections. Yang obtained remarkable access: we observe the People's 
Congress formulate a new bankruptcy law. striking workers and a factory 
manager negotiate, and subcontractors bid — all evidence of the infiltration 
of capitalistic economic practices into the socialist system. We visit a silk 
factory that began turning a profit through its use of high-fashion models, 
and w atch young women in bathing suits vie for an advertising job with an 
airline. We also see the continuing poverty in the countryside and the 
growing breech between the poor and rich. China's mixed economy is rife 
with contradictions, which Yang skillfully draws out and ponders through- 
out the film. 

Given the inextricable relationship between the changes in China's 
economic and political fronts and Yang's cogent analysis of the former, it's 
a shame she didn't tie the two together in China Diary. Or rather, couldn't. 
Yang was in Beijing on January 1. 1987 — precisely the time when several 
thousand students began a march on Tiananmen Square for political reform. 
They were part of a groundsw ell of protests on 1 50 university campuses in 
20 cities — the largest mass movement since the Cultural Revolution and a 
harbinger of the 1989 demonstrations. I asked Yang why this wasn't 
included in her film diary. She intended to. she replied, but finally didn't 
because of her continuing ties with CCTV. which supplied crew and 
equipment for China Diary: "Before I w ent. my boss [at CCTV] came to me 
and said. "Jinhua. don't shoot. If you do. you cannot leave this country 
anymore." Then he took my camera aw ay ." Yang w ent any w ay and took still 
photographs, which she also decided not to use. "Because this film is 
sponsored by CCTV. all my bosses would get in trouble. So I think it's not 
worth it." The original idea was for CCTV to broadcast the program. But. 
says Yang. "Now I don't think they can." Even though the film doesn't 
directly address politics, the basic problem, as Yang sees it. is "I just doubt." 

There were many forces and grievances behind the spring '89 demonstra- 
tions for democracy — feudalism, fascism, corruption, inflation. But the 
massacre did nothing to resolve these problems. Rather. China now sits on 
a powder keg. While China has disappeared from the front pages in the U.S.. 
no doubt it will be back soon. The projects discussed here are most likely the 
first in acontinuing line of films and videotapes that will chart the country's 
turbulent transition to the post-Deng era. 



The Stuff of History: Source Materials 




Hunger strikers in a 
Beijing hospital flash 
the V-sign to foreign 
journalists. Photo- 
graphs like this one, 
from the June 4 
Project's collection, 
plus other visual and 
print materials are 
being collected in 
new Tiananmen 
archives around the 
country. 

Courtesy June 4 Project 



Producers who either have foot- 
age to donate or are looking for 
materials to use can contact the 
following archives: 

Beijing Spring Archives 
Fairbank Center for East Asian 

Research 
Harvard University 
1737 Cambridge St. 
Cambridge. MA 02138 
Contact: Andrew Walder/Nancy 

Hearst 

Tiananmen 1989 Archives, Chicago 

Center for East Asian Studies/ 
Center for Psychosocial Stu- 
dents 

University of Chicago 

111 E. Wacker Drive. Ste. 1317 

Chicago. IL 60601 

Contact: Shao Jing/Liu Xinmin 

Columbia University 
C.V. Starr East Asian Library 
300 Kent Hall, Columbia Univer- 
sity 
New York, NY 10027 
(212)854-4318 
Contact: Marsha Wagner 

Stanford University 

Associated Chinese Students and 

Scholars 
(415)494-8399 
Contact: Douglas Pan 

University of Toronto 

China Documentation Project 
Joint Centre for AsiaPacific Stud- 
ies 
University of Toronto 
631 Spadina Ave. 
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2H6 
Canada 

(416)978-8481 
fax:(416)929-0539 



Tian'anmen 1989 Archive 

International Institute for Social 
History 

Cruquiusweg 3 1 

1 1 9 at Amsterdam, The Nether- 
lands 

tel: (31) 20-66 858 66 

fax: (31 (20-66 541 81 

Contact: Frank N. Pieke/Tony 
Saich 

or 

Sinological Institute 

Box 9515 

23000 RA Leiden 

The Netherlands 

tel: (31) 71-27 25 30/27 25 28 

fax: (31) 71-27 26 15/27 31 18 

Yale University 
China Witness 1989 
c/o Katharine Morton 
Manuscripts and Archives 
Sterling Memorial Library 
Box 1603 A, Yale Station 
New Haven. CT 06520 

June 4 Project 

Box 968, FDR Station 
New York. NY 10150 
(718)426-8447 
Contact: Wai Luk Lo 

In addition, the China Informa- 
tion Center is compiling a com- 
prehensive list of Chinese student 
organizations in the U.S. The first 
edition of China Support Direc- 
tory: A Listing ofProdemocracy 
Support Organizations is avail- 
able for $10. A second edition 
should be ready by January. For 
information, contact: 

China Information Center 
169 Grove St. 
Newton, MA 02 1 66 
(617) 332-0990 
fax:(617)332-2638 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



FESTIVALS 

KIWILAND KINO: THE AUCKLAND AND 
WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVALS 




New Zealanders 
found out how this 
he-man measured 
up when Obie Benz' 
docucomedy Heavy 
Petting played at the 
Wellington and 
Auckland Film 
Festivals. 

Courtesy Skouras Pictures 



Rob Edelman 



In the town square of Lumsden, a dusty little 
village on New Zealand's South Island surrounded 
by mountains and sheep stations, a signpost re- 
veals that you are 15,264 kilometers away from 
New York City. Lumsden — andallofKiwiland — 
may be a world apart from the United States, yet 
the country has not escaped the shadow of U.S. 
cultural influence. In New Zealand, Garbage Pail 
Kid cards are on sale in takeout stores and tea 
rooms, stacked alongside the tamarillos, kumeras, 
and mince pies, and movie-goers queue up in 
droves to follow the further exploits of the Karate 
Kid and Indiana Jones. 

Programming on the country*s two television 
stations — a third is due to commence operation — 
is dominated by the likes of Dynasty. Entertain- 
ment Tonight, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 
and reruns of Mr. Ed and The Man from U.N. CLE. 
Newspaper movie ads primarily quote U.S. crit- 
ics: Lindsay Shelton, marketing director of the 
New Zealand Film Commission, opens a conver- 
sation about Vincent Ward's The Navigator, his 
country's most recent commercially successful 
movie, by mentioning its reception in the New 
York press. 



Video stores have sprouted up across New 
Zealand, and they're decorated with posters hyp- 
ing Cocktail and Colors, The Big Easy and Little 
Nikita. A large-scale promotional campaign for 
Cocktail touts the film not as the work of New 
Zealand native Roger Donaldson but solely as a 
Tom Cruise vehicle. 

But you won't find Tom Cruise vehicles at the 
Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals, held 
each July for two weeks with overlapping sched- 
ules. What you will find are plenty of U.S. inde- 
pendent works — an unusually large numbergiven 
the variety of Films available from around the 
world. Thirteen of the 59 features selected in 1 989 
by Bill Gosden. director of the Wellington festival 
and program director in Auckland, were inde- 
pendent. Included were Ken Ausubel's Ho.xsey: 
Quacks Who Cure Cancer? .Tony Buba's Light- 
ning over Braddock: A Rusthowl Fantasy, Bruce 
Weber's Let's Get Lost. Marcel Ophuls' Hotel 
Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie, 
Obie Benz' Heavy Petting, Todd Haynes' Super- 
star: The Karen Carpenter Story, and Daniel 
Geller and Dayna Goldfine's Isadora Duncan: 
Movement from the Soul. Add to this 1 1 shorts by 
Amy Kravitz, Jane Aaron, Sally Cruikshank. 
George Griffin. Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss, 
among others. Most programs unspooled at some 



of New Zealand's largest movie houses: the 
Embassy in Wellington and the St. James and 
Civic in Auckland. The Civic in particular, an old- 
style picture palace elegantly designed in an 
Egyptian motif, is a grand venue for a screening. 

These numbers reflect Gosden's programming 
for the previous couple of years. Excluding retro- 
spective screenings, the most mainstream U.S. 
films he's selected have been 'Round Midnight, 
Talk Radio, Raising Arizona, and House of Games. 
Gosden doesn't program by quotas. He picks 
what he likes, and he's apparently liked U.S. 
independents often enough to have given them a 
high profile at his festivals. 

"These films have always been welcomed here," 
observes Gosden, who's been affiliated with the 
18-year-old Wellington festival for a decade and 
the 21 -year-old Auckland event since 1984. "But 
that's not to say that there's a huge audience for 
them. Ho.xsey, for example, drew very small 
audiences. It's a film I believed in, one we worked 
quite hard to promote. We focused on alternative 
health organizations, expecting it would garner 
support within this community. But what worked 
against the film was the way it smacks of Ameri- 
can hucksterism. Hoxsey himself would be con- 
sidered a fairly undignified character to many 
people here, which is unfortunate." 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 



presents 

SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

Call for Entries 
for 
1990 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Dept. of Economic Development 

H. Lee Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



( iosden can promote the films, but he cannot 
guarantee adequate coverage in the media. Com- 
ing off its splash at Cannes, Steven Soderbergh*s 
sex, lies and videotape grabbed much ink. but 
John Sayles' Man-wan received just a single re- 
\ iew . as did Barbara Trent's Coverup: Behind the 
Iran Contra Affair. Most other independents old) 
earned passing references in festival previews. 

"A foolish notion exists here that if an Ameri- 
can film is an\ good, it w ill be on at the local, 
mainstream cinema. There are certainly some 
film-goers who know better and who can be 
counted on to turn up for Sherman's March, or 
e\en Lightning over Braddock. This is not so 
among the bulk of the population. I'm afraid." In 
New Zealand, a film like Life Is a Long Quiet 
River, a French comedy w ith neither name cast 
nor stars, will sell out long before se.x. lies and 
videotape. 

Nor can Gosden guarantee commercial sales. 
New Zealand television would seem to be the 
likeliest venue for U.S. independents, but few are 
ever shown. "Television has stayed shy of them." 
Gosden states. "As far as I can remember, the only 
documentary that's been shown in the last five 
years has been Best Boy. 

"The material that's gone on to theatrical re- 
lease has been only the fairly obvious titles, like 
Stranger than Paradise. The local market is very 
limited. What often happens is that Australians 
buy the New Zealand rights elsewhere. Some- 
times, the films we're playing — one example 
would be She's Gotta Have It — have already been 
bought for this part of the world." 

Gosden occasionally has difficulty scheduling 
films he covets that already have distributors. He 
wanted Matewan in 1988. when it was a much 
new er film. "I couldn't get it then." he recalls. "Its 
distribution in New Zealand has been butchered. 
It played the festival this year, and it won't even be 
getting a theatrical release. It's going straight to 
video." 

The fact is that, after their festival screenings, 
most U.S. independent films disappear in New 
Zealand. Even nationally produced features that 
subject- and budget-wise resemble the best of 
their American cousins may have trouble finding 
distributors. Merata Mita's Mauri, a controver- 
sial, explosive drama about Maori identity and 
Maori-Pakeha relations that was screened at the 
1988 festivals, did not play theatrically for an- 
other 14 months. Then there is Gaylene Preston's 
Mr. Wrong. Even though this feminist fantasy was 
screened several years ago to appreciative audi- 
ences, it could not attract a New Zealand distribu- 
tor. Preston had to four-wall theaters in several 
cities and open the film herself. 

"We certainly like the films to stick around 
after the festivals." Gosden says. "It always dis- 
tresses me to have to pack up films and send them 
back to the United States without any hope of 
them ever again being seen here. Definitely, it's a 
priority to get the films seen by people who might 
bus them. It's a difficult situation." 



It would, of course, help if filmmakers can 
accompany their work and aggressive!) assault 
the marketplace. Wellington and Auckland, 
however, are no quick, inexpensive jaunts across 
the ocean. In 1988, Coverup coproducer/cinema- 
tographer Gary Meyer was the only American on 
hand w ith his film — and that was because he was 
already in nearby Australia. 

"We've had other visitors in the past." Gosden 
says. "Les Blank came, but that was some time 
ago. when Burden of Dreams was a new film. 
Incidentally, that was one for which we acted as 
distributor, and Burden of Dreams was seen by a 
lot of people in New Zealand. We've rarely been 
able to do this, because of the lack of time. The last 
film we distributed was My Beautiful Laundrette. 
which also did quite well." 

This lack of time, coupled with his country's 
location, has prevented Gosden from scouring 
other festivals for titles. Apart from his own, 
London is the only one he's attended in the past 
five years. "I saw Hoxsey in London." he says. 
"Lightning overBraddockl'd read about. I'd been 
tipped off early that se.x. lies and videotape was 
worth watching out for. I've maintained a rela- 
tionship with Les Blank over the years. I saw him 
late last year, and he indicated his films Ziveli: 
Medicine for the Heart and / Want to Dance: The 
Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana would be 
ready for us." 

Gosden is amenable to receiving queries from 
filmmakers. The closing date for unsolicited sub- 
missions is April 30. He can only pay freight for 
films or tapes he asks for. so he w ould first appre- 
ciate a letter and background information. Inquir- 
ies should be sent to him at Box 1 584. Wellington, 
New Zealand. 

"Please send us adequate material." Gosden 
asks, "especially once a film has been confirmed. 
It's so frustrating to receive only a couple of blur- 
ry stills and photocopies of reviews from the local 
press which mean absolutely nothing here. I can 
see why the director might have considered this a 
low priority while making the film. But it's diffi- 
cult to publicize a film with visuals that are unfit 
for reproduction in newspapers." 

Chances are if you're a U.S. independent, expo- 
sure in the New Zealand festivals will not lead to 
television and video sales or further screenings in 
Wellington or Auckland — let alone in whistle 
stops like Lumsden. Nonetheless. Gosden be- 
lieves that these films have a place in his festivals, 
and he intends to keep programming them. 

"I think that, because we are spoon-fed all the 
mainstream American cinema." he observes, "it's 
particularly crucial for us to have access to other. 
alternative ways of seeing the same culture." 

Rob Edelman is director of programming of the 
Home Video Festival and an associate editor of 
Leonard Maltin' s TV Movies and Video Guide. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



New Zealand Film Archive 
Hits the Road 

As director of the New Zealand Film Archive, 
Jonathan Dennis has built up an organization 
that is unique among its peers. The archive, 
founded in 1 98 1 , has nocinematheque. Itdoesn*t 
cling possessively to its holdings, making them 
available only to researchers willing to trek to 
its Wellington facilities. 

"I started out with a vision not of what I 
wanted but of what I didn't want," Dennis ex- 
plains. "1 had every conceivable model of this 
from FIAF archives around the world. Their 
standards and operating procedures are based 
on nineteenth-century notions of museums, ar- 
chives, and libraries. They're unrelated to the 
medium that we are dealing with — as well as 
that medium's potentials. 

"Most archives," Dennis adds, "are designed 
for people who are literate in dealing with insti- 
tutions. But most of those who deal with us are 
not literate in this way. The difference is that we 
go out to find our audience. We take programs 
all over the country, rather than expect people 
to know to come to us. We're not a researcher- 
based archive, because we don't have a re- 
searcher-based constituency. 

"What we consider to be part of the preser- 
vation process is the returning of material to the 



areas in which it was filmed and sharing it. This is 
particularly so with Maori-related material." To 
fulfill this mandate, Dennis has screened at Maori 
meeting houses such celluloid records of Maori 
history as Scenes at the Rotorua Hui (1920), 
Scenes of Maori Life on the Whanganui River 
(1921), and Maori Battalion Returns (1946), as 
well as Broken Barrier (1952), a drama about a 
Maori-Pakeha romance that was New Zealand's 
only feature made between 1940 and 1964. 

■i 




New Zealand Film Archive director Jonathan 
Dennis with Wltarina Harris, star of the 1928 
feature Taranga. Dennis has taken films like 
Taranga to Maori meeting houses so 
younger Maoris can be exposed to these 
records of their language and culture. 

Photo: Audrey Kupferberg 



"Maori life has become increasingly west- 
ernized," explains Witarina Harris, now 83, 
whose sole screen appearance was as the star 
of Taranga (also known as Under the Southern 
Cross and The Devil's Pit), a 1 928 feature held 
by the archive. "Fewer young Maoris know the 
language and the culture. It's so important that 
these films be made available. People write the 
archive to bring the films. And they're always 
willing to do so. 

"I last saw Taranga in a preview after it was 
completed. I didn't see it again until 1983, 
when Jonathan brought it here [to Rotorua] and 
showed it to my family. I'd had nothing from 
the film. No photographs. Nothing." 

During the past four years, Witarina has ac- 
companied programs of Maori films to screen- 
ings in London, Paris, Honolulu, Munich, and 
Los Angeles. "I've been all over the world with 
Jonathan," she beams. "My first trip overseas 
was to San Francisco. I was 80 years old. I'm 
the envy of my relations." 

"We're not trying to be a model for other 
archives," Dennis says. "We're trying to be 
relevant, accessible, and useful to our country, 
and our South Pacific neighbors. Henri Lan- 
glois and Iris Barry were, I think, really extraor- 
dinary for their time. But for us, it has to be 
different. What we're doing is relevant for us, 
here." 

RE 







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THE INDEPENDENT 37 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, direc- 
tor of the FIVF Festival Bureau. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 
since some details change faster than 
we do. we recommend that you 
contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or tapes. 
If your experience differs from our 
account, please let us know so we 
can improve our reliability. 



Domestic 

\\\ \rhok FILM FESm \l Mar 20-25. Indepen- 
dent & experimental films form backbone of test, at 28- 
yrs-old the oldest 16mm test in country w/ longstanding 
tradition a> showcase for innovati\e work. Loosely 
structured, w/ no special cats, guidelines, or require- 
ments for films entered. About 250 films submitted ea. 
yr A 1 3 shown. Cash awards total S6000. incl. Tom 
Berman Award i$1250i & Marvin Felheim Award 
(SlOOi. Judges this yr incl. Richard Kerr & Barbara 
Hammer, whose work will be shown. Jury also selects 
films to tour other institutions across country . w/ rental 
tees paid to participating filmmakers. Entry fee: $25. 
Format: 16mm. Do not send video for prescreening: film 
onl> . Deadline: Mar. 5. Contact: Vicki Honeyman. Ann 
Arbor Film Festival. Box 8232. Ann Arbor. MI 48107; 
1 3 15 1 995-5356. 

ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL. Apr. 6-8. NY. Both established & new Asian & 
Asian American talent showcased in noncompetitive 
test's 13th yr. Nation's oldest fest for Asian & Asian 
American talent has shown works of filmmakers from 
US. Japan. Korea. Canada. China. Philippines. Taiw an. 
Australia. India. Hong Kong & Sri Lanka. Last yr. more 
than 60 films programmed in 19 sections shown at 
Alliance Francaise's Florence Gould Hall in NYC. Full 
range of genres & styles accepted: experimental, doc. 
narrative, performance, adaptations, shorts, etc. Fest 
goes on 5 mo. nat'l tour after NY opening. Entries 
accepted from producers/directors of Asian heritage, as 
well as distributors, universities & media organizations. 
Sponsored by Asian CineVision. NY-based mediacenter. 
No entry fee. Formats: 35mm. 16mm: preview on cas- 
sette. Deadline: Feb. 9. Contact: Marlina Gonzalez, fest 
dir.. Asian CineVision. 32 E. Broadw a\ . New York. NY 
10002:(212)925-8685. 

ATHENS FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL. Apr. 27-May 
5. OH. A premiere ind. film competition in US. fest has 
been held since 1974 & features showcase of int'l 
features, guest w orkshops & presentations. Approx. 1 00 
films screened each yr. $6000 in awards given out to 
both film & video. Cats: doc. narrative, experimental. 
animation, camcorder video. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. 
super 8. 3/4". 1/2". high 8. 8mm. Deadline: Feb. 5 
(video), Mar. 5 (film). Contact: Ruth Bradley/Craig Ste- 
vens. Athens Film & Video Festival. Box 388. Athens. 
OH 45701 (614)593-1330. 

DANIEL WADSWORTH MEMORIAL VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL. Apr. 6-May 4. CT. Looking for experimental/art 
video, subjective/hybrid docs & cross-genre w ork. Com- 
mercial. TV productions, instructional tapes & report- 
age docs not eligible. 6 works chosen for exhibition in 



test &. purchase b\ sponsor Real An Ways under prize 
,ats Grand Prize ($500). Second Prize (S400). 4 Festi- 
\ al Prizes ( $200 ea. > Work must be completed after Jan. 
1. I988& 30min.orless. No formal cats: entries judged 
on merit, creative use of video for personal expression & 
w/in context of related accomplishments in media arts 
Ma\ contain material originating on film as long as work 
has been edited & completed on video. No entry fee; 
enclose $4 for return shipping. Format: 3/4"; preview on 
& 1/2". Deadline: Feb. 16. Contact: Victor Velt. 
wdeo curator. Real An Wa\s. 56 Arbor St.. Hanford. 
CT 06106; (203) 232-1006. 

HOMETOW N i s \ \ IDK) f ES 1T\ AL. July . DC. Spon- 
sored by Nat'l Federation of Local Cable Programmers 
(NFLCP). fest recognizes outstanding local programs 
produced for or by local origination & public, educa- 
tional & government access operations. Awards given 
to creative local productions that "address community 
needs, develop diverse community participation. in 
production process, challenge conventional commer- 
cial TV format & move viewers to look at TV in dif- 
ferent way." Entries must have 1st public showing on 
local origination or access channel or cablecast over 
local cable channel betwn Mar. 1989 & Mar. 1990. 
Professional & volunteer works judged separately. Cats 
are single & series: performing arts, ethnic expression, 
entertainment, sports, programming by & for youth, 
live, municipal, religious, educational, instructional/ 
training, informational, innovative, international, pro- 
gramming by & for senior citizens, access program 
promotion. LO program promotion. PSA. Single: doc 
event, doc profile, doc public awareness, music video, 
original teleplay, video art. public access. Series: local 
news, magazine format. Special awards for overall 
excellence in public access programming. LO program- 
ming & institutional programming. Entry fees: $20 
(volunteer produced); $35 (professionally produced). 
Enclose S5 for return postage. Formats: 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: Mar. 9. Contact: Sue Buske. Hometow n USA 
Video Festival, c/o Buske Group. 3112 St.. Suite 1. 
Sacramento, CA 95816; (916) 456-0757. 

HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FES- 
TIVAL. Apr. 20-29. TX. 23rd annual Festival of Ameri- 
cas incl. competition in 6 major cats: features, shorts, 
docs. TV commercials, experimental & TV production. 
Numerous sub-cats incl. animation, scripts, music TV, 
ecology, student & industrial. In 1989. more than 2400 
entries submitted for competition from 43 countries. 
Cash awards go to top student & ind. films & videos; 
major student & screenplay winners submitted to sev- 
eral major studios & agents each yr. Format: 35mm. 
16mm. 3/4". Entry fees: $45-150. Deadline: Mar. 1. 
Contact: J. Hunter Todd, chair. Houston International 
Film Festival. Box 56566. Houston. TX 77256; (713) 
965-9960: fax: (713) 965-9960; telex: 317 976 
TODDCORP HOU. 

HUMBOLDT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL. Apr. 2-7. 
CA. 23rd annual edition of nation's oldest student-run 
festival. Open to all student & ind. film/video artists. 
$3,000 in cash aw ards. prizes & services. Entry fee: $25. 
Deadline: Mar. 5. Contact: Heather I. Denton. Theatre 
Arts Dept.. Humboldt State University. Areata. CA 
95521: (707) 826-3566. 

JOHN MLTR MEDICAL FILM FESTIVAL, October. CA. 
Biennial competitive showcase, held since 1976. high- 
lights int'l films on health & medical subjects. About 
475 entries compete in 25 subject cats, w/ approx. 1/2 
targeted at health consumers & remainder designed for 



health professionals. Award cats incl. aging, children's 
health, community health, coping, critical care, diag- 
nostics, drugs. sexuality, issues/ethics, life & death, 
parenting, policies/procedures, safety/first aid, special 
people, wellness, women's health. Format: 16mm, 1/2", 
35mm slide/sound, interactive laser videodisc. Dead- 
line: Jan 31. Contact: Chip Bissell. director. John Muir 
Medical Film Festival, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Wal- 
nut Creek. CA 94598: (415) 947-5303. 

monitor AWARDS. September. NY. Sponsored by 
International Teleproduction Society, int'l trade assoc. 
of facilities, competition honors excellence in all areas 
of electronic production & postprod. Cats & craft areas 
incl. entertainment series, specials & programming (film 
originated): computer animation: music video, nat'l & 
local commercials; promotion: children's programming; 
sports; news/docs: features: video paint design; show 
reels; internal corporate communications; nonbroadcast 
external: audio for video. Each cat. awards best achieve- 
ment honors to producers, directors, editors, etc. Awards 
given at gala presentation in Sept. at NYS Theatre. 
Entries must have been produced or postproduced btwn 
Jan. 1 & Dec. 31. 1989. Entry fees: S90- 145. depending 
on length & membership in ITS. Format: 3/4". Deadline: 
Feb. 15: late entries subject to S25 late fee. Contact: 
Monica Mathis. coord, dir.. International Monitor 
Awards. 990 Ave. of the Americas. Suite 2 IE. New 
York. NY 10018; (212)629-3266; fax: (212)629-3265. 

ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR FILM FES- 
TIVAL. May 4-5. NY. Sponsored by Movies on a Shoe- 
string, a group of western NY film buffs, now in 32nd yr. 
Open to amateur films & videos. Awards given on basis 
of "artistry, ingenuity & photographic skill" incl. Cer- 
tificate of Merit, Honorable Mention & Shoestring 
Trophy. Critique returned for each entry. Fest held at 
Dry den Theatre. Eastman House in Rochester. Selected 
films from each yr's fest assembled into Best of Fest 
show, which travels NYS. Entry fee: S10. Formats: 
16mm. super 8. 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: 
Movies on a Shoestring. Box 17746. Rochester. NY 
14617: (716) 288-5607 (eves.) 

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. May. 
WA. 1 of largest noncompetitive fests in U.S. North- 
west. Now in 16th yr. annually shows over 130 films 
from around world. Features & shorts accepted. Fest is 
noncompetitive, but Golden Space Needle Aw ards given 
to audience faves in 5 cats: feature, director, actress, 
actor, short subject. Entry fees: S50 feature. S20 short 
(under 20 min). Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: Mar. 
30. Contact: Seattle International Film Festival, c/o 
Stage Fright. Egyptian Theatre. 801 E. Pine St.. Seattle. 
WA 98122: (206) 324-9996. 

SLICE OF LIFE FILM SHOWCASE. July 13-15. PA. 
Seeks experimental or doc works depicting "the unique 
performances of everyday life — those moments of truth 
& beauty that w ould otherw ise go unrecognized." Spon- 
sored by Documentary Resource Ctr.. fest also hosts 
Meet the Artists reception & conference. Fest pays cash 
awards, travel stipend & accommodates filmmakers in 
area homes. Entry fee: SI 2. Formats: 16mm. 3/4". Call 
or write for appl. Deadline: Apr. 1 . Contact: Loma Ras- 
mussen. Slice of Life, Box 909. 106 Boalsburg Rd.. 
Lamont. PA 16851: (814) 234-7886. 

UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL FILM AND 
VIDEO FESTIVAL. Apr. 27-29. CO. 20th anniv. of Earth 
Day is framework for 1st nat'l competitive fest devoted 
exclusively to environmental films & videos. Fest con- 
cludes state's week-long festivities. More than 50 re- 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



gional & nat" I environmental groups expected to partici- 
pate in activities. 40-50 works to be exhibited in compe- 
tition: fest will also hold panels & seminars. Plans for 
selection to travel after fest. Awards: Best of Festival: 
$2,500, $ 1 ,000 ea. to best short, feature, video animated 
work & commercial film. All cats accepted: feature, 
short, doc, fiction narrative, experimental, animation. 
Works must be completed after Jan. 1. 1987. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 1", 3/4", 1/2": preview on 16mm, 1/2". 
Deadline: Jan. 31. Contact: Richard Skorman, fest pro- 
grammer. United States Environmental Film Festival, 
1026 W. Colorado Ave.. Colorado Springs, CO 80904; 
(719)520-1952. 

USA FILM FESTIVAL, Apr. 1 9-25, TX. 20th yr celebra- 
tion for invitational showcase of both US ind. & int'l 
features & shorts, w/ 12-yr-old independently pro- 
grammed nat' 1 short film & video competition. Program 
this yr features retro celebrating 20yrsof ind. filmmak- 
ing. Audiences number about 9500 & last yr's fest 
showed about 30 films. Competition entries should be 
under 60 min. & judged by 5-member jury of film- 
makers, critics & scholars, who will award prizes of 
$ 1 ,000 ea. in cats of narrative, nonfiction, animation & 
experimental, as well as 4 special jury awards of $250 
ea. Grand Prize Winner selected from 1 st place winners 
flown to Dallas for awards ceremony, as well as invited 
to serve on next yr's jury. Work must be completed in 
US no earlier than Jan. 1, 1989. Entry fee: $35 for 
competition. Request appl. for fest or competition: en- 
tering competition does not guarantee entry into main 
fest. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Beta. Deadline: 
Mar. 2 for competition; Mar. 5 for fest. Contact: Richard 
Peterson, USA Film Festival, 2909-B Canton St., Dal- 
las, TX 75226; (214) 744-5400. 

VIDEO SHORTS FESTIVAL, Feb. 10-11, WA. Ninth 
annual competition. Entries may be up to 6 min. Mini- 
mum of 10 entries chosen to receive $100 honoraria. 
Formats: 3/4", 1/2". 8mm. Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: 
Video Shorts Festival, Box 20369, Seattle, WA 98102; 
(206) 325-8449. 

WASHINGTON D.C. INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL/FILMFEST D.C, Apr. 25-May 6, DC. More than 
50 int'l features & 25 shorts given Washington area 
premiere at noncompetitive fest in '89, incl. several 
world premieres of films from Europe, Asia, Africa, US 
independents & Hollywood. Audiences of over 10,000 
enthusiastically attend sold-out screenings. Each yr 
special focus series samples nat' I cinemas. Filmfest DC 
for Kids, a free series of features & shorts, offered at 
several public & cultural institutions. Features, docs, 
short films under 15 min. & films for children accepted. 
Fest also annually sponsors workshops & symposia 
featuring filmmakers, media professionals & scholars. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Feb. 1. Contact: 
Filmfest D.C, Box 21396, Washington, D.C. 20009, 
attn: MarciaZalbowitz; (202) 872-9080; fax: (202) 347- 
7342. 



Foreign 



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10-21, France. 43rd yr of 1 of world's largest film fests, 
attended by tens of thousands, incl. stars, directors, 
distributors, buyers & journalists. Critical exposure at 
Cannes can be important to film's commercial success. 
Selection Committee, appointed by Administration 
Board, chooses entries for Official Competition & for 
Un Certain Regard section. Films must be made w/in 
prior 12 mos., released only in country of origin & not 



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entered in an\ other film festival. Official selection 
consists of 3 sections: In Competition, in which features 
& shorts compete for major Festival Awards (Palme 
d'Or. etc): Special Out-of-Compeiiiion. for features 
ineligible for competition (e.g. for films b\ directors 
who have alread) won the Palme d'On: In Certain 
Regard ( noncompetitive ) for films of int* I quality, which 
lor technical or special reasons do not qualify for 
Competition — significant works in the fields of innova- 
te e features, films bj new directors, etc. Parallel sec- 
tions incl. Quin/aine des Realisateurs (Director's Fort- 
night i. main sidebar for auteur films w/ purpose of 
discovering new talent/innovations, sponsored b> As- 
soc, of French Film Directors; le Semaine de Critique 
(International Critics Week), selection of 1st or 2nd 
features & docs chosen by members of French Film 
Critics Union & Perspecmes on French Cinema. Mar- 
ket, administered separately . screens films in main venue 
& local theaters (500 films participated last yr). Int'l 
Critics Week selections must be completed w/in 2 yrs 
prior to fest. Top prizes incl. Official Competition's 
Palme d'On feature & short )& Camera d'Or (best first 
film) in any section. For info & accreditation, contact: 
Catherine Verret. French Film Office. 745 Fifth Ave.. 
New York. NY 10151; (212) 832-8860. Official Sec- 
tion: Festival International du Film (deadline Mar. 1). 
71. rue du Faubourg St. Honore. 75008 Paris, France: 
tel: I 45610166, telex: 220064 ref. 131 l.Quinzainedes 
Realisateurs (deadline Apr. 7), Societe des Realisateurs 
de Films. 2 1 5 Faubourg St. Honore. 75008 Paris. France: 
tel: 45610166. Semaine International de la Critique 
(deadline Mar. 1). Claude Be\lie. president. 90. rue 
d'Amsterdam. 75009 Paris. France; tel: 40169830. 
Cannes Film Market, attn: Marcel Lathiere. Michel P. 
Bonnet. 71. rue du Faubourg St. Honore. 75008 Paris. 
France, tel: 42669220. 

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

June. Australia. Now in 39th yr. fest seeks US ind. work 
of all kinds, w/ interest in feature-length docs & shorts. 
Stage for Australia's only int'l short film competition 
( now in 28th yr) w / substantial cash prizes in 7 cats: short 
fiction, doc. animation, experimental, student & films 
for children. Grand Prix for Best Film carries AS4.000 
prize. Emphasis on innovation & originality. For com- 
petition, entries must be on 16mm or 35mm & com- 
pleted since Jan. 1989. Fest also screens programs of 
super 8 & selected video, out of competition, but will 
have prize for best super 8 entry. This yr will broaden 
super 8 & experimental programming by working w/ 
Melbourne Super 8 Group & Modem Image Makers 
Assoc., an organization involved w /experimental/avant- 
garde works. These orgs will form selection panels for 
these sections. Fest dir. Tait Brady is particularly look- 
ing for experimental/avant-garde, animated & student 
works this \r. Immediately following fest. selection of 
entries will be invited to tour Australian cities, w/ fees 
paid for all screenings. Fest "acts as useful w indow to 
Australian theatrical & nontheatrical/educational dis- 
tributors & new Australian TY networks interested in 
bu> ing short films, many of whom rely on fest for their 
foreign acquisitions." Entry fee: AS20 (about SI5). 
Deadline: Mar. 23. Contact: Tait Brady, dir.. Melbourne 
International Film Festival. GPO Box 2760EE. Mel- 
bourne 300 1 . Australia: tel: (03 ) 663 1 395: fax: (03) 662 
1218. 

MONTBELIARD INTERN \TIO\AL VIDEO ANDTELE- 
VLSION FESTIVAL, June 1 3- 1 7. France. Death, love & 
war is theme of 5th annual int'l competition for sideo. 
which should "be original in style & give proof of a 
personal research." All cats accepted, in all languages. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



Work must be over 5 min. & produced after Sept. 30, 
1988. Video only; no transfers accepted for competi- 
tion. Program also incl. Images & Entertainment Pro- 
gram, w/int'l screenings dealing w/fest theme, tributes 
to French & foreign artists (video works, installations & 
entertainment) & theatrical, choreographic, musical & 
video performances: also seminars, meetings w/ direc- 
tors & Cross Road, a forum for audiovisual schools & 
training centers. Format: 3/4" (PAL, SECAM. NTSC). 
Awards: 1st Prize ( 1 00.0O0FF); 2nd Prize (50.000FF), 
3rd Prize (25.000FF), various addt'l awards. Entry fee: 
250FF. Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: Manifestation Inter- 
nationale de Video et de TV, CAC Montbeliard. BP 236, 
25204 Montbeliard Cedex, France; tel: 81 91 37 1 1 . 

MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILMS 
AND VIDEOS BY WOMEN, June 6- 1 6. Canada. Cospon- 
sored by Cinema Femmes Montreal & Cinemama, de- 
voted to "popular & critical discovery of images & 
stories made by women artists." Now in 6th yr, fest 
screened 66 films & 54 videos last yr. Film cats for 
prizes: New Jury Prize for doc films & videos over 28 
min. ($2000); Prix du Public for feature fiction films 
over 52 min. completed in last 2 yrs ($2000); Prix de 
Public for short films — fiction, doc. experimental — 
awarded by audiences ($1000). Prix du Public also to 
best video — narrative, doc. experimental ($1000). All 
entries must be Montreal premieres. Other sections: 
Panorama overview of features & shorts grouped under 
different themes & women's history; special homages 
to filmmakers &/or actresses. Cinemama presents week- 
end series of workshops, conferences & panel discus- 
sions during event. Entry fee: $25Can. (features), $ 1 5Can. 



( videos & shorts under 52 min. (.Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
3/4"; preview on 1/2". If available, French subtitles 
preferred. Deadline: Feb. 15. Entry forms avail, from: 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 100 1 2; (2 1 2) 473- 
3400 (send SASE): or from fest: Festival International 
de Films et Videos de Femmes Montreal, 3575 Boul. 
St.-Laurent, Bureau 6 1 5. Montreal, Quebec, H2X 2T7; 
tel: (514) 845-0243; fax: (514) 843-5681 (bureau 615). 

OBERHAUSEN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF 
SHORT FILMS, April, W. Germany. Now in 36th yr., 1 
of major int'l competitive showcases for short films, 
programming wide range of experimental, narrative & 
doc films under annual theme "Way to the Neighbor." 
Fest looks for work in cats of social documentation, new 
development in animation, experimental & short feature 
films, student film (particularly from film schools), 
debut films & works from developing countries. Films 
selected by committee which travels to several conti- 
nents. In 1 989, a premiere video section became official 
part of fest. Several juries award prizes, incl. juries of 
German Assoc, of Adult Education Centres which awards 
Grand Prix (DM5,000). Minister for Education & Arts 
(DM5,000), FIPRESCI (DM2,000), Catholic Film Work 
( DM2,000), Protestant Film Centre (DM2,000), Under- 
signersof Oberhausen Manifesto, Assoc, of Filmcritics, 
Braunschweig Experimental Film Prize (DM5,000). 
Several retros incl. in program & parallel Children's 
Cinema (13th yr) & Youth Film Festival (20th yr) 
also scheduled. Concurrent short film market. Entries 
should be under 35 min. (under certain circumstances, 
docs may go to 60 min.) Formats: 35mm, 16mm. super 
8, 3/4". Work must be completed in previous 2 yrs. 



Deadline: Feb. 28. Contact: Internationale Westdeutsche 
Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen. Christian-Stegerstrasse 10. 
D-4200 Oberhausen I , W. Germany: tel: (208) 8252652: 
fax: (208) 28159; telex: 856414 kuobd. 

SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. June 8- 
22. Australia. This yr FIVF will host fest director Paul 
Byrnes in NYC on Feb. 21-26 for preselection of US 
entries for 1990 edition. 1 of world's oldest fests & 1 of 
Australia's major film events. Sydney now in 37th yr. 
Noncompetitive program mixes features, shorts, docs & 
retros. Over 130 films screened last yr for 2 wk event, 
incl. strong selection of US works. Several films shared 
w/ Melbourne Film Fest. held at around same time. Most 
of Australia's distributors & TV buyers attend fest. 
which has enthusiastic & loyal audience. Excellent 
opportunity for filmmakers to gain publicity & access to 
Australian markets. Participating filmmakers provided 
w/ hotel, hospitality & intros to press & buyers. Entries 
must be Australian premieres completed in previous yr. 
Fest pays roundtrip group shipment of selected films 
from FIVF office. All lengths, subjects & genres consid- 
ered. Format: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4". 1/2". 
Entry fee: $20, payable to FIVF. For info & entry form, 
send SASE to: Kathryn Bowser, FIVF Festival Bureau, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; (212)473-3400. 
Deadline: Feb. 9. Fest address: Sydney Film Festival, 
Box 25, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia; tel: (2) 660-3844; 
fax: (2) 692-8793. 




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THE INDEPENDENT 41 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Renee Tajima 



Hearing Voices tells the story of Erika, a young 
woman who works as a product model, and her 
relationship to herself — as her image is frag- 
mented and changed by her profession in the 
commercial world of print media. In filmmaker 
Sharon Greytak"s 87-minute. 35mm film. Erika's 
work serves onl\ to promote a product and is 
emblematic of her relationship to friends and 
lovers. Portions of Erika's body are considered 
conventionally beautiful, and therefore highly 
marketable. But she has also been scarred by 
ileostomy and scoliosis surgery. She lives in 
constant conflict, know ing that she perpetuates an 
unrealistic female image, but also unable to come 
to terms with her own physical imperfections. 
Professionally, the magazines define her self- 
image. Privately, her self-esteem is derived from 
two lovers. The first, a male fashion model, who 
also comes to represent competition, intimida- 
tion, and dependency. The second, a gay man. 
through whom Erika is able to confront her anger, 
fears, and misconceptions. Hearing \ oices: Sharon 
Greytak. 85 Eighth Ave.. #4K. New York. NY 
10011. 

Video artist Juan Dow ney traveled to his native 
Chile to produce The Return of the Motherland, 
a documentary fiction sequel to an earlier work. 
The Motherland. In the new work. Downe\ 
combines a fictional narrative with video verite 
footage from the streets of Santiago. He intercuts 
officially sanctioned Chilean television — footage 
of anti-Pinochet protestors — and his fictional 
characters, to produce a multi-layered piece evok- 
ing the importance of memory on both a personal 
and political level. The documentation of the 
regime's brutal, human rights violations serves as 
ironic contrast to the studied theatrical pomp of 
the Chilean military. The Return of the Mother- 
land was coproduced w ith public television sta- 
tions WNET-New York and WGBH-Boston as a 
part of the New Television series devoted to video 
art. The Return of the Motherland: Electronic Arts 
Intermix. 536 Broadway. 9/F. New York. NY 
10012: (212) 966-4605. 

Workshop students from New York's Down- 
town Community TV Center have completed a 
videotape entitled He Left Me His Strength, a 
portrait of a mother who turned her personal loss 
into a bold AIDS educational campaign. When 




Mildred Pearson discovered that her son. Bruce, 
was dying from AIDS, she decided to bring him 
home from the hospital and care for him herself. 
And when he died. Mildred resolved to educate 
hercommunity about AIDS. "I'm telling my story 
so that people will not abandon their loved ones." 
she told the videomakers. Mildred went to 



churches, hospitals, and community groups spread- 
ing the word and formed a support group for 
mothers of adult children w ho are dying of AIDS. 
Her message is simple: We need love to fight 
AIDS. The documentary explores effective edu- 
cational strategies and the role of the church in the 
struggle against AIDS, especially in the nation's 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



Above left: From My Grandma 
Flora, Steven Rothblcrtt's 
documentary about his feisty 85- 
year-old grandmother. 



Courtesy filmmaker 



Below left: Filmmaker Sharon 
Greytak's recently completed 
feature, Hearing Voices, tells the 
story of Erika, who must reconcile 
the unrealistic female image she 
perpetuates in her work as a 
product model with her own 
physical imperfections. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



poor communities. The 13-minute VHS format 
tape was produced by Merle Jawitz, Sherry Busbee, 
Joanne Basinger. and Sheila Ward, with work- 
shop supervisor Victor Sanchez, and premiered in 
September at DCTV. He Left Me His Strength: 
April Productions, 236 E. 5th St.. #D-4. New 
York, NY 10003: (212)460-8067. 

Filmmakers Kevin Duggan and Geri Fallo are 
distributing their new 35-minute film Paterson, 
which unearths the history of the first planned 
industrial city in America. The story is told through 
two women, Rosa and Claire, who meet while 
looking for apartments in northern New Jersey. 
Rosa is an educated but alienated blue collar 
worker who is a native of the state. Claire is a loner 
who becomes curious about Rosa and her working 
life, thereby leading her to Paterson's history. 
Claire learns of its emergence as the Silk City, 
America's preeminent textile mill town, and 
through a 97-year-old silkworker, Carolina Golzio. 
is told of the 1 9 1 3 strike that personifies the tough, 
proud Paterson worker. Meanwhile. Rosa is dis- 
enchanted with her own. present-day job. and in 
parallel action she joins other Paterson workers in 
a strike to protest management speed-ups. Writer- 
director Duggan based the film, his first, on his 
own experiences working in New Jersey. Pater- 
son: AMIC/Paterson Film Project, 1 2 1 Fulton St., 
5th fl., New York, NY 10038. 

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Steven Roth- 
blatt just completed production on My Grandma 
Flora, a short documentary about his 85-year-old 
grandmother. Shot in 16mm black and white 
reversal film for about S7.000. the 25-minute film 
portrays the filmmaker descending upon Flora 
Vogel with a full load of production gear and 
affection. Feisty and independent. Flora offers her 
insights on everything from politics to cooking. 
Rothblatt, a recent graduate of the University of 
California, Los Angeles, graduate film program 
premiered My Grandma Flora at the Independent 
Feature Film Market and the Denver International 



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Film Festival. My Grandma Flora: Steven Roth- 
blatt, 1811 Franklin Canyon Dr.. Beverly Hills. 
CA 90210; (213) 276-4452. 

Academy Award-winning documentarian 
Deborah Shaffer has just completed Dance of 
Hope, a feature-length film about women and 
human rights in Chile. With music by Sting and 
Wendy Blackstone. Dance of Hope chronicles 
the Association of Relatives of the Detained and 
Disappeared as they prepared for Chile's recent 
elections. Shaffer filmed the group as they danced 
the cueca sola, or dance alone, the Chilean na- 
tional dance of love and passion between woman 
and man — a unique form of protest against repres- 
sion and the loss of those with whom one can no 
longer "dance." Then, she followed them to Ar- 
gentina, where they appeared onstage with Sting 
at the Amnesty International Concert, as he sang 
"The Dance Alone" in tribute to their struggle. 
Dance of Hope received partial funding from the 
New York State Council on the Arts and had its 
New York premiere at the Public Theater. Dance 
of Hope: Deborah Shaffer. 33 Greene St., New 
York, NY 10013; (212) 226-3032. 

The 100-minute feature Shadows in the City 
has just wrapped principal photography in New 
York City. An urban ghost story with an anti- 
suicide message, filmmaker Ari Roussimoff tells 
the tale of a lonely transient named Paul Mills 
(Craig Smith), a down and outer bent on suicide. 
The film chronicles his daily despair, roaming the 
city by day and often hallucinating about his past. 
By night. Paul is beseiged with nightmares, which 
takes him into a dark shadow world of eternal 
limbo. Shadows in the City features a number of 
local, underground talents, including Bruce By- 



ron, co-creator of Kenneth Anger' s 1 962 cult film 
Scorpio Rising. Former Warhol star Taylor Mead 
appears as the anti-hero's drunken father, singer 
Rhonda Scherich plays his mother, and X-rated 
film queen Annie Sprinkle is the enigmatic city 
priestess. Shadows in the City: Rousimoff Films. 
346 W. 55th St., #6-H, New York, NY 10019; 
(212)307-5256. 

The experiences of a schoolteacher who faced 
major illness but refused surgery in favor of holis- 
tic approaches is the subject of Karil Daniel's new 
videotape Well and Strong: A True Story. The 
28-minute documentary features a computer 
graphics sequence by Ed Tannenbaum and a 
computer cartoon animation sequence by Lee 
Marrs in order to engage the viewer in the tape's 
underlying premise: It is a human being's biologi- 
cal nature to be well and strong. In the tape, 
Daniels focuses on Verna Henderson, who is 
suffering from an esophagitis and hiatal hernia. 
After deciding against surgery. Verna took on a 
program of nutritional changes, daily light exer- 
cise, biofeedback, visualization, relaxation, stress 
reduction techniques, massage therapy, and re- 
flexology. This combination was successful in 
modifying and controlling her illness, making 
surgery unnecessary. Well and Strong: Point of 
View Productions, 2477 Folsom St., San Fran- 
cisco, CA 941 10; (415) 821-0435. 

Intermedia Arts Minnesota just picked up media 
artist Reynold Weidenaar's compilation tape 
Concert Videos for distribution. In his effort to 
expand the definition of music video with a syn- 
thesis of computer processed imagery and audio 
explorations, Weidenaar creates a fusion that the 
Japan Times called "an awesome electronic vi- 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



Chilean women and human rights 
are the subject of Deborah Shaffer's 
latest film, Dance of Hope. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



sion." The programs included in the package are 
Between the Motion and the Act Falls the Shadow; 
Love of Line. Of Light and Shadow: The Brooklyn 
Bridge: Night Flame Ritual; The Stillness; and 
The Thundering Scream of the Seraphim's De- 
light. Concert Videos: Intermedia Arts, 425 On- 
tario St.. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 
627-4444. 

Santa Monica filmmaker Craig Schlattman has 
just completed Submitting, a film produced by 
his partner Rutger Hauer and Headroom Produc- 
tions. The subject is the politics of submission and 
its relationship to bigotry. By mixing various 
genres of dramatic, narrative, documentary, and 
experimental approaches. Submitting raises ques- 
tions without offering the audience easy answers. 
The film has earned honors at the Houston Inter- 
national Film Festival and Athens International 
Film Festival and has shown in noncompetitive 
festivals from Sydney , Australia to Seattle, Wash- 
ington, and Sao Paolo, Brazil. Submitting: Hard 
Knox Films, 2210 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 253, 
Santa Monica, CA 90403. 

During the mania for comparative ethnogra- 
phy in the 1960s, researchers tried to pinpoint 
universally shared moral or ethical values. It turned 
out that there were exceptions to almost all "uni- 
versal rules*' — all taboos, even those against in- 
cest, murder, and cannibalism, had in one culture 
or another been disestablished. One rule did hold 
true worldwide; that is, as one observer described 
it, "don't shit in the watering hole." But Eric Saks' 
new film, Forevermore: Biography of a Leach 
Lord, shows how twentieth-century humans are 
violating this precept in lethal ways. The feature- 
length film describes our growing, collective 
toxicity and slow process of self-poison, seen 
through the prototypical dumper, "leach lord" 
Issac Hudak. Using a discursive, arhythmic style, 
Saks constructs the life of Hudak, scion of a 
Dupont-like chemical dynasty. Family hatred leads 
Hudak to his worst crime: he sprays two tankers 
full of toxic waste on a real estate development 
owned by his father. Forevermore premiered at 
New York's Collective for Living Cinema last 
November. Forevermore: Gil Reavill, 332 E. 19th 
St., #22, New York, NY 10003; (212) 533-6455. 



EVERYTHING FOR EDITING 

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 45 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independents Classifieds column 
includes all listings for "Buy • Rent • 
Sell." "Freelancers" & "Postproduc- 
tion" categories. It is restricted to 
members only. Each entry has a 250 
character limit & costs $20 per issue 
Ads exceeding this length will be 
edited. Payment must be made at 
the time of submission. Anyone wish- 
ing to run a classified ad more than 
once must pay for each insertion & 
indicate the number of insertions on 
the submitted copy. Each classified 
ad must be typed, double-spaced & 
worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., February 8 for the April 
issue. Make check or money order — 
no cash, please — payable to FIVF, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing system. 2 BVU 950 

time code decks. 2 monitors. 6-channel audio mixer. 
\ anous audio sources. Negotiable rates. Obenhaus Films. 

(212)227-8366. 

ECLAIR NPR FOR SALE: w/ Mean crystal vari-speed 
motor. Ang. 9.5-57mm. 2 mags. 2 batts. Haliburton case, 
Universal fluid head, tripod w/case.Ceco baby legs, lens 
shade, filters, changing bag. hand grip. Asking S5.000. 
Call Scott: (212) 832-5247. 

EQUIPMENT for sale: SQN mono mixer. $ 1 500: Schoeps 
KC 5 colette cable S250: Schoeps MK.6 3-pattern capsule 
S450; Schoeps DZC 10 Db pad $100; Schoeps CMT 
h\ percardioid S350; Shure FP 1 1 SI 50. Shure sticks, pop 
screens, shockmounts. doc hook for Nagra. etc. (212) 
924-2535. 

FOR SALE: CP16R Crystal Sync Camera in excellent 
working condition w/ Ultra T lenses: 9, 12.5. 16 & 
25mm: AC hook-up. two 400' mags. Halliburton camera 
case. $3,200 or best offer. Call Jerome (7 1 8) 44 1 -4793. 

BETACAM PACKAGE FOR SALE: Ikegami HL95 cam- 
era w/on-board Sony BVV 1 A Beta video recorder. Incl. 
ca-95 adaptor for 3/4". plate, batteries. 3 yrs. one owner, 
great condition. Call (212) 825-8696. 

COMEDY SHORTS WANTED: The more outlandish the 
better. SendS. A. S.E.formore information toCommedia 
Productions. Attn: Jim Kundig. 5358 Hermitage Ave.. 
N. Hollywood. CA 91607. 

FOR SALE: Showchron 6-plate flatbed editing table, 
including 3 mag heads, plus trim bins, rewinds, gangsyn- 
chronizer. splicer and other accessories. $5,000 or best 
offer. (212)397-1909. 

FOR SALE: 3/4" U-matic Sony edit and record machine. 
Newly overhauled. Includes warranty. $1750 or best 
offer. Also for rent: 5850. 5800, RM 440, 3/4" off-line 
editing system available in Soho. Maxi Cohen ( 2 1 2) 966- 
6326. 



FOR SALE: Bei.icamSPBVW5()or7.SIO.OO()for 1/3 
or 1/2 share (partner wanted). Must haveexclt refs. For 
rent: 3/4" Sony editing. $4(K)/wk. Call Gary (212) 768- 
16(H). 

PRODUCER VI M MEROUS PBS credits willing to ex- 
change free use of his Son) 3/4" edit system or Betacam 
camera & deck for place w/ interesting neighbors East/ 
Wesl Village preferred. Short/long term. Couch ok. 
Only in city half-time. Gary (212) 768-1600 day/nite. 

PRODUCTION OFFICE SHARE: Charming, quiet pro- 
duction office share w/ independent producer available 
in Chelsea area, near A. C, E, & 1. 2. 3 subways. Call 
(212) 691-8733 for details. 

MOVIOLA M-77 6-plate flatbed with bin, splicer, and 
extras. Excellent condition. S5.200. (212) 873-4470. 

Freelancers 

HESSION-ZIEMAN PROD. We make Betacam look like 
film using Sony BVW507 bdest high resol. Betacam & 
Betacam SP w/ complete off-line, on-line postprod. 
services. Field prod. & rental pkgs to suit your doc. 
indus., music vid, commercial project. (212) 529-1254. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY available for dra- 
matic films. 16 or 35mm productions of any length. Call 
to see my reel. John (201 ) 783-7360. 

WHATEVER YOU'RE LOOKING FOR. I can find. Call 
or write for brochure. Design Research. Dept. B, Box 
1503. Bangor ME, 04401; (207)941-0838. 

FILM SEARCH: We obtain hard-to-find films (pre- 
1970) on tape. We are expensive, but good. 5 searches 
for $5 & SASE. Video Finders, Box 435 1 -453ind. L. A.. 
CA 90078. 

BETACAM PACKAGE w/ tripod, lights, mics. award- 
w inning cameraman, crew & transportation, avail, for 
your project at great rates. Fast & reliable. Broadcast 
quality. Call Eric (718) 389-7104. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ feature (4), doc. & commer- 
cial credits avail, for film or video projects of any length. 
Personable, w/ strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can afford. Call 
for demo: Eric (718) 389-7104. 

NETWORK CREDITED director, videographer w/ Sony 
broadcast 3/4", 3/4" SP & Beta pkgs from S300/day. 
Rental or experienced crews avail. Also complete pro- 
duction services incl. producing, directing & VO cast- 
ing. Michael. MI-RO Productions. (212) 757-7654. 

BETACAM SP packages available: New BVW-507 (w/ 
700 line resolution); BVW35 & BVW-505 also avail. 
Your choice of field production package comes w/ 
award-winning videographer. Toyota 4-Runner & 
competitive rates. Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER & Soundperson to work on 
independent films. Allan Vincent (718) 729-7481. Reel 
upon request. Long live independence! 

16MM PRODUCTION PKG from S150/day. Complete 
camera, lighting & sound equip, avail, w/asst. & trans- 
port to location. (CP 16 crystal, fluid head. Lowels, sun- 
gun. Nagra. radio mikes & more.) Postprod. also avail. 
Negotiable rates. Tom (201) 692-9850. 



( \MERAMAN with own equipment available. 16 SR, 
35 BL. superspeed lenses, sound equipment, lighting, 
van, passport, certified scuba diver, speak French, a 
little Spanish. Call (212) 929-7728. 

SOUND MAN: Nagra, Sennheisers, Micron radio equip- 
ment. Feature & documentary credits. Bilingual & 
passport. Very reasonable rates. For booking, call Memo 
at CEM crews. (212) 620-0084. 

AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

looking for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 
capable full Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 

BETACAM OR 3/4" SP location shooting as low as $300/ 
day. Betacam and 3/4" SPto3/4" SP editing with editor 
from $35/hr. Vega wireless mic. and Motorola MX-350 
rental as low as $30/day. Call Michael at Electronic 
Visions (212) 691-0375. 

CAMERAWOMAN7ED1TOR. Fifteen years shooting. 
lighting and editing tape. Documentaries, Narrative, 
Non-narrative. Teleconferences. Dance. U.S. and Af- 
rica. Sony M-7 package available also. Barbara Krista- 
ponis (212) 724-4546. 

AWARD-WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 
8fps-75fps w/ videotape looking for challenging proj- 
ects. Partial client list includes: ABC Sports. ESPN. 
IBM. LIRR. Pitney Bowes. Complete crews avail, in- 
cluding sound recorder & grip truck. Reasonable rates. 
Call Mike at (718) 352-1287. 

SHOOTING IN WASHINGTON D.C.? We'll meet you w/ 
an experienced, fully credentialed crew, or produce 
from your script. Sony bdest 3/4" SP or Betacam SP pkg, 
8 lights, 5 mics. News/doc/interviews in several lan- 
guages. Good rates. Lots of happy clients. Accent Media. 
(703) 356-9427. 

MARKET 2 VIDEO FEATURES: #1 orients non-smok- 
ing counselor/parent/teacher to crack experience. #2 
tours Hamptons — drama to farce. So far staff & cast 
working for shares. Funding expected. Pilots available. 
(212) 777-7830. Group Creativity Inc. (nonprofit). 

DOCUMENTARY VIDEO EDITOR— U.S. and Euro- 
pean TV credits including PBS/Bill Movers and BBC/ 
Antenna. English and Spanish speaking, with 3/4" 
equipment. Call Martin Lucas (718) 625-0031. 

TRANSCRIPTIONS WHILE-U-W AIT! Local PA. will 
transcribe youraudiotaped interviews. Give your editor 
a break! Fast clean service, hourly rates, fabulous refer- 
ences. Call Rocco (212) 460-8384. 

DP FOR HIRE: feature, dramatic and documentary ex- 
perience with low-budget production package — 16 
camera. Nagra. lights, mics, $500/daily. Will travel 
anywhere. Call for reel. (213) 828-5063 (L.A.). 



Postproduction 



NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm. super 16. 35mm. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Chris Choy.ReneeTajima. 
Bruce Weber & Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at 
reasonable rates. One White Glove. Tim Brennan. 321 
W. 44th St., #411, New York, NY 10036: (212) 265- 
0787. 

BROADCASTQUALITY EDITING: Edit from Betacam. 
3/4" or 3/4" SP. S99/hr including operator, switcher, slo- 



46 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



mo. 50% discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, Inc., near Lincoln Center (2 12) 874- 

4524. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND Film Services. All S/8 produc- 
tion, postprod., editing, sync sound, sound mix, multi- 
track, single & double system sound editing, transfers, 
stills, etc. Send S ASE for rate sheet or call Bill Creston, 
727 6th Ave., NY, NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

BETAC AM OR 3/4" SP location shooting as low as $300/ 
day. Betacam & 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP editing w/ editor 
from $35/hr. Vega wireless mic. & Motorola MX-350 
rental as low as S30/day. Call Michael at Electronic 
Visions (212) 691-0375. 

SOUND TRANSFERS: Convenient downtown location, 
FX library, digital sampling, transfers from & to 16/ 
35mm, 1/4" mono & stereo ( w/ SMPTE), cassette, CD, 
DAT & mini Nagra SN. Best rates (212) 255-8698. 

16MM FLATBEDS FOR RENT: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212)873-4470. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

SUPER 8 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion w/ CCD telecine, Sony color corrector w/ hue, 
phase, gamma comp, neg-pos reverse, b&w tinting, 
letterboxing & Dolby stereo. Beautiful results @ 1 le7 
foot to Sony Pro-X 1/2" VHS. $35/min + stock. Gerard 
Yates (203) 359-8992. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access in secure, convenient building on both East 
& West side of Manhattan. Reasonable rates. (718) 997- 
6715. 

WORLD'S BEST 3/4" Editing System. Convergence 
Super 90 w/ T.C. reader/gen./plus JVC 8250 5550. 
Status mon. Audio mixer. Complete. Sacrif. $5850. 
Microtime TBC 320 D Freeze frame. $4,250. Also 
Moviola M-86. $4,500. Cine 60 fiberglass blimp for 
Arri 35. Best offer. (203) 637-0445. 

COUNTRY VIDEO BED & BREAKFAST: 3/4" SP off- 
line system. Time Code reading/generating unit. Sur- 
rounded by acres of state forest. Enjoy country living, 
sauna, international hospitality & low rates. Log Coun- 
try Inn, Box 58 1 , Ithaca, NY 1485 1 ; (607) 589-477 1 . 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING ROOM. BVU Time Code 
Decks. 2 Monitors, 6 channel audio mixer, various audio 
sources. Housed in Lower Manhattan production com- 
pany with 7 day, 24 hour access. Daily or weekly; 
negotiable rates. Obenhaus Films, (212) 227-8366. 

FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing room (brand new Sony 
5860, 5800, RM440). Very reasonable rates, convenient 
midtown location in suite w/ other filmmakers. Xerox & 
fax avai lable. Call Jane at ( 2 1 2 ) 929-4795 or Deborah at 

(212)226-2579. 






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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 47 



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» 1°, Beta-cam SP and 3/4 
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■~;ial Effects: Abekas A 

Graphics: Chyron Scribe and 
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Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority, others 
are included as space permits. 7"he 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., February 8 for the April 
issue. Send to: Independent Notices, 
FIVF. 625 Broadway, New York, NY 
10012. 



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333 West 52nd Slrert New York, NT 10019 

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Conferences • Workshops 

ASST. DIRECTORS TRAINING PROGRAM sponsored 

bv Directors Guild & Alliance of Motion Picture & TV 
Producers. 400 days on-the-job (raining & regular 
seminars as 2nd asst. directors. Deadline: Jan. 12. Contact: 
Assi. Directors Training Program. 14144 Ventura Blvd. 
Ste. 270. Sherman Oaks. CA 91423; (818) 995-3600. 
ext. 100. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

ARTS FESTIVAL OF ATLANTA seeks video an for 
exhibit to be held in Piedmont Park, midtown Atlanta. 
Sept. 15-23. Video exhibit juried by John Hanhardt. 
curator of film & video at Whittle) Museum, will 
examine political, social & environmental issues pres- 
ent in an work today. Deadline: Mar. I. Contact: Ans 
Festival of Atlanta. 501 Peachtree St.. NW, Atlanta. GA 
30308: (404) 885-1 125. 

BROOKLYN MUSEUM seeks high quality single-chan- 
nel video an by African Americans for Spring 1990 
series. Narrative, doc & experimental tapes, especially 
addressing issues of self-representation, history & cul- 
ture, requested. Length: up to 60 min. Send 3/4" or 1/2" 
tapes & SASE to: Dara Meyers-Kingsley. Public Pro- 
grams & Media. Brooklyn Museum. 200 Eastern Park- 
way, Brooklyn. NY 11238. 

CABLEVISIONS: New public access series cablecast in 
metro New York & Long Island beg. Jan.. seeks student- 
produced video. Contact: Mario Chioldi. Middle Col- 
lege H.S.. LaGuardia Community College. 3 1 - 1 OThom- 
son Ave.. Long Island City, NY 1 1 101: (718)482-5440. 

CENTER FOR NEW TV seeks short tapes for The 90 s 
-.enes showcasing work of ind. film & video artists & 
producers from around the world. Incl. vvorks-in-prog- 
ress. excerpts & short pieces. Series to be broadcast on 
public TV around U.S. Fee of about S50/min. w/ addi- 
tional payment to portions aired on Tokyo Broadcasting 
System. Send anv format. 3/4" prefened but Hi-8 ac- 
ceptable. Contact: The 90' s. CNTV. 400 N. Michigan 
Ave., # 1 608. Chicago. 1L 60611; tel: (312) 321-9321: 
fax:(312)321-4323. 

THE COMEDY CHANNEL, a new basic cable service, 
seeks independently produced short films and video- 
tapes for possible airing. Materials not to exceed 15 min. 
&. should be suitable for general audience. Submit 
screening tapes ( VHS or 3/4") to: Nina Hahn. Comedy 
Channel. 1 100 Avenue of the Americas. New York. NY 
10036. 

CROSS PRODUCTIONS programming agency for Ital- 



ian television looking lo purchase new tides from U.S. 
Specifically unusual news/cunent events/trends pieces 
of up to 60 min. Emphasis on films or videos that address 
extremely current topics. Broadcast-quality technical 
standards are imperative. Direct inquiries to: Cross 
Productions, c/o FIVF. 625 Broadway. 9th fl.. New 
York. NY 1001 2 or call 1 212) 941-8389. 

DOWNTOWN < < )M MUNITY TV screening series seeks 
videos for ongoing Tues. evening shows. All formats & 
genre accepted. Send 3/4" & 1/2" tapes w/ SASE & 
sv nopses to Maria Beattv . DCTV. 87 Lafayette St.. New 
York. NY 10013: (212) 966-4510. 

FILM CRASH seeks films for regular NYC & Los 
Angeles screenings of independent productions. Con- 
tact: Matthew Hamson. (212) 673-3335: Karl Nuss- 
baum. (718) 636-5496: Scott Saunders. ( 7 1 8) 643-6085. 
or w rite Film Crash. 423 Atlantic Ave.. #4A. Brooklyn. 
NY 11217: (213) 939-8422. 

LACE: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions seeks 
recently completed video art. experimental docs & other 
innovative video or film on video for screening pro- 
gram. Send 3/4" or 1/2" tapes w/ cunent resume, short 
synopsis & SASE to: Adriene Jenik. Video Coordinator. 
LACE. 1804 Industrial St.. Los Angeles. CA 90021: 
1213)624-5650. 

LA PLAZA: Weekly TV program produced at WGBH- 
Boston for & about Latino community acquires original 
w orks by independent Latino film & videomakers deal- 
ing w/ social & cultural issues. Send 3/4" & VHS tapes 
to La Plaza/ Acquisitions. WGBH. 125 Western Ave.. 
Boston. MA 02 134. 

NEW DAY FILMS: Self-distribution coop for indepen- 
dent producers seeks new members w/ recent social 
issue docs. Also progressive films for young people. 
Deadline: April I. 1990. Contact: Ralph Arlyck. 79 
Raymond Ave.. Poughkeepsie. NY 12601. 

PS MAGAZINE: Quarterly publication of Am. Political 
Science Assn. w/ 13.000 member subscription base, 
publishes column of video rev iews 2x/yr. Submit VHS 
tape for review w/ ordering info, price & address. 
descriptive material on program background or content 
& indicate if stills avail, for reproduction. Tape will not 
be returned. Contact: Samuel Kemell. American Politi- 
cal Institutions Project ( Q-060). UC San Diego. La Jolla. 
CA 92093-0060: (619) 534-4988. 

RANDOLPH ST. GALLERY invites proposals for Time 
Arts Events performance, video & interdisciplinary 
projects for upcoming 1990 season. Contact: Mary Jo 
Schnell. Randolph St. Gallery. 756 N. Milwaukee. 
Chicago. IL 60622: (312) 666-7737. 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT seeks artists for touring exhibi- 
tion of ind. film & v ideo. 6 artists to travel 9 days to 7 
southern states & present 1 show per city. Send only 
printed materials, incl. resume & publicity for 1st round 
selection. Deadline: Jan. 15. 1990. Contact: South Caro- 
lina Media Arts Ctr.. 1800 Gervais St.. Columbia. SC 
29201 . attn: Susan Leonard, exhibitions coordinator. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

CHANNEL L WORKING GROUP seeks student interns 
& volunteers to assist prod, of nonprofit municipal 
access cable TV programming. Jan. to May. Intensive 



48 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



training & experience provided in studio & location 
prod. No previous experience required, but helpful. 
Must be available to work 15 hrs/wk min. Contact: 
Channel L Working Group, 51 Chambers St., rm. 532, 
New York, NY 10007; (212) 964-2960. 

HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY Theatre Arts Dept. 
seeks instructor or assoc. prof, for full-time, probation- 
ary position in film prod. Begins Aug. 20. MFA or 
professional experience required. Appl. deadline: Jan. 
20. Contact: Richard Rothrock, chair. Theatre Arts 
Dept., HSU, Areata, CA 95521; (707) 826-3566 for 
announcement. 

911 CONTEMPORARY ARTS CTR seeks full-time di- 
rector. Strong adm. skills, nonprofit & media &/or 
visual arts experience required. Respond by Jan. 19 to: 
91 1, Box 84348. Seattle, WA 98124. No calls. 

SAN FRANCISCO STATE Cinema Dept. seeks dept. 
chair & full-time animation asst. prof. Rank & salary for 
chair negotiable. Begins Fall 1990. Ph.D., MFA or 
equivalent. Deadline: Feb. 1 . Women & minority candi- 
dates encouraged. For further info, contact: Cinema 
Dept., SFSU. 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco. CA 
94132. 

SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO: 

Asst. & assoc. prof, in video tenture trk position avail, 
beg. Fall 1990. Teach basic video prod., video strategies 
& grad. projects classes. Develop new classes, alternate 
w/ other faculty as dept. chair. Salary competitive. Incl. 
letter of appl. & teaching philosophy, video portfolio w/ 
descriptions & reviews, resume, 3 recommendation 
letters by Feb. 26 to: Beth Howell, Divisional Chairs 
Office, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 37 S. 
Wabash. Chicago, IL 60603. 

SPECTRUM COMMUNICATIONS: New African Ameri- 
can-owned & operated 24-hr cable channel has job 
openings at all levels. In need of org. to build its prod, 
facility on Long Island. Contact: Clyde Davis. Spectrum 
Comm.,21 Bedford St., Wyandanch, NY 11798; (516) 
491-7774. 

Publications 

DUTCH FILM 1987-88: Catalogue of film production in 
the Netherlands, incl. low-budget features, majors, docs, 
shorts & animated films; directory of film-related or- 
ganizations. Published by Netherlands Ministry of 
Welfare, Health & Cultural Affairs. Contact local Royal 
Netherlands Embassy or Ministry of Welfare, Health & 
Cultural Affairs, Film Dept.. Box 5406. 2280 HK 
Rijswijk, The Netherlands; tel: (70) 40-6 1 -43/40-6 1 -28. 
fax: (70) 20-17-03. 

FOUNDATION DIRECTORY 12th ed. now available. 
Price: $135 cloth, $115 paper, plus $2 shipping & 
handling. Contact: Foundation Center. 79 Fifth Ave.. 
Dept. JE, New York. NY 10003; (800) 424-9836 or 
(212)620-4230. 

GRANT SEEKERS GUIDE: Revised & expanded 3rd 

ed., published by Nat'l Network of Grantmakers, edited 
by Jill R. Shellow & Nancy C. Stella. Info on funding 
progressive causes, e.g. aging. AIDS, civil rights, film & 
media, peace & disarmament, poverty, refugees & 
immigration, women. Price: $34.95 cloth, $24.95 paper. 
Add $2.75 postage & handling. Contact: Moyer Bell 
Ltd., Colonial Hill, RFD 1, Mt. Kisco. NY 10549. 

NEW YORK STATE ARTS LAWS: An Outline of the Arts 
& Cultural Affairs Laws of New York State now avail, 
from NYS Senate Special Comm. on Arts & Cultural 
Affairs. Contact: NYS Senate Special Comm. on the 



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• THE INDEPENDENT the only national 
magazine devoted exclusively to independ- 
ent film and video production 

• Insurance: Group life, medical, disability 
and equipment insurance at affordable 
rates, plus dental insurance for New York 
and New Jersey residents 

• Festival Bureau, with current information 
on over 400 international and domestic film 
and video festivals, and screenings of your 
work for visiting festival directors 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and 
public forums to increase support for inde- 
pendent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aes- 
thetic issues (audio recordings available) 

• Discounts on professional services, includ- 
ing car rental, film labs, post-production 
facilities, and equipment rental 

• Free semi-annual copies of Motion Picture 
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The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 49 



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Bldg . Albany. NY 12247; (5 1 8) 455-221 1. 

Resources • Funds 

AMERICAN. WOMEN IN RADIO & TV 1 5th Annual 
Vu'l Commendation Awards recognize programs, ads, 
news & features thai improve image of women. Dead- 
line: Jan. 5. Entry lees: S85/TV. S75/radio. $50/student. 
Contact: AWRT, National Commendation Awards. 1101 
Connecticut Ave.. N W. Ste. 700, Washington. DC 20036; 
(202)429-5102. 

CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING Open 
Solicitation for TV Program Fund deadlines: Jan. 19 & 
Sept. 14. Contact: CPB TV Program Fund. 1 1 1 1 -16th 
St., NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955-5 1 34. 

CULTURAL COUNCIL FOUNDATION: Free 1 hr& low 
cost ($75 for up to 4 hrs) clinics for NYC nonprofit arts 
orgs provided by CCF's staff. Consultancies in arts 
mgmt.. gov 't& private funding. Contact: Program Asst., 
CCF. 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; (2 1 2) 473- 
5660. 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CTR's Electronic Arts Grant 
Program provides finishing funds of up to S500 to NYS 
artists for completion of audio or videotapes, computer- 
based sound or image works & exhibition, plus small 
number of research projects aimed at advancing elec- 
tronic arts. 3 appl. cycles/yr. Also, presentation funds to 
NYS nonprofits to assist w/ presentation of audio, video 
& related electronic art. 4 review cycles/yr. Contact: 
Experimental TV Center, 180 Front St.. Owego, NY 
13827; (607) 687-4341. 

MAKING NEWS: Call for proposals for video, photog- 
raphy & digital art project sponsored by Hallwalls, 
Squeaky Wheel & CEPA. Will support 1st 20 people 
who agree to produce projects dealing w/ theme of 
Making News. Designed to support inexperienced people 
w/all training & assistance needed to complete project. 
Workshops & limited free access to equip, provided. 
Work will be shown at participating orgs & on public 
access TV. Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Squeaky Wheel, 
(716)884-7172. 

NAT'L COUNCIL ON FAMILY RELATIONS 22nd 
Annual Media Awards Competition recognizes videos, 
films & filmstrips on marriage & family topics. Video 
deadline: March 9; film & filmstrips: Apr. 6. Contact: 
National Council on Family Relations. 3989 Central 
Ave.. N.E. Ste. 550. Minneapolis, MN 55421; (612) 
78 1-9331; FAX (6 12) 78 1-9348. 

NAT'L ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS Interarts Artists 
Projects: New Forms Notification of Intent to Apply: 
Jan. 8; appl. deadline: Jan. 22. Contact: Interarts Pro- 
gram, Rm. 710, NEA, 1 100 Pennsylvania Ave.. N.W., 
Washington, DC 20506; (202) 682-5444. 

SOUTHEAST MEDIA FELLOWSHIPS for independent 
film & videomakers in 10-state region: AL. FL, GA, 
KY. LA, MS, NC, SC. TN & VA. Up to $8,000 for new 
works, works-in-progress & equipment access grants. 
Deadline: Feb. 1 . Contact: SEMFP. c/o Appalshop. 306 
Madison St.. Whitesburg. KY 41858; (606) 633-0108. 

UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE: Grants pro- 
gram for scholarship, educ. training & public info on 
int'l peace & conflict mgmt. Appl. deadline: Feb. 1. 
Contact: US Institute of Peace. Grants Program. 1 550 M 
St. NW. Ste. 700, Washington. DC 20005-1708; (202) 
457-1700; fax (202) 429-6063. 



/IOEO TAPE. AUDIO TAPE. LEADER & SUPPLIES 



50 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 




■1 



T 



HE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 




diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 






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oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
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PROGRAM NOTES 



Kathryn Bowser 
FIVF Festival Bureau 



Early in 1989, Martine Lumbroso, the U.S./U.K. 
correspondent for RIENA (Rencontres Interna- 
tionales de L'Environnement et de la Nature), a 
French environmental and nature film and video 
festival, visited FIVF's office searching for inde- 
pendent films and videos. As a result of FIVF's 
collaboration on the preselection of work, we 
received an invitation to attend the festival, which 
took place at the Corderie Royale in Rochefort- 
sur-Mer in the Charente-Maritime province on 
France's Atlantic Coast. This was the festival's 
eighth edition and was held from September 26 to 
October 1. 

Rochefort, first settled in 1666, still boasts 
many of the original stone houses which replaced 
the original dockworkers log cabins at the end of 
the seventeenth century. The Corderie Royale, a 
former rope-making factory, has been converted 
into a conference center and home of the Centre 
International de la Mer. Other festival venues 
included the Theatre de la Coupe d'Or, built in 
1766, and the Palais des Congres. 

Established in 1982, the competitive film and 
video festival is presented within the larger frame- 
work of a series of major colloquia, all held at the 
Centre International de la Mer, which coproduced 
the festival and conference with the Paris-based 
Foundation Europeene pour la Maitrise de 
l'Environnement et de la Nature, the Rochefort 
City Council, and several associations and public 
and private institutions involved in environmental 
issues. Participants came from throughout Europe 
and the US. The major topics for discussion and 
debate this year were energy, the environment and 
Europe, gardens, and land trusts. 

Several sections comprise the festival: a com- 
petition of about 30 films and videos, an indus- 
trial/corporate film competition, a selection of 
films for youth, out-of-competition screenings, 
evening premieres of feature-length films, and a 
small market with on-demand screenings. Most 
works were projected in video, using a system 
with high-quality sound and picture, and a major- 
ity of works were simultaneously translated into 
English, German, or French. Topics of the compe- 
tition entries varied widely, as did their quality, 
covering both natural and environmental sub- 
jects, including water pollution, asbestos expo- 
sure, ozone depletion, toxic waste dumping in the 
Third World, genetic engineering, desertifica- 
tion, and medicinal plants in tropical rainforests. 

The international jury, chaired by Malian film 
director Souleymane Cisse, included U.S. docu- 
mentary film producer Janet Mendelsohn, direc- 
tors Jean-Rene Vivet and Gerard Vienne, German 
producer Beatrice Nolte, and Caroline Edwards 



from Television for the Environment in London. 
A separate jury judged corporate entries. After 
spending several days deliberating, the jury 
awarded fourprizes: the Villede Rochefort Award, 
the FEMEN Award, a Ministry of the Environ- 
ment Award, and an FR 3 Poitou-Charentes Award. 

The top prize went to South African/U.K. di- 
rector Clyde Niven's The Arid Choice, a beauti- 
fully filmed study of the advancing southern Sahara 
desert and local efforts to reverse its effects on the 
thousands of current and displaced inhabitants. 
The jury also recognized an U.S. video entry, 
Drive-Thru, which was coproduced by David 
Jacobsen and James Seligman and codirected by 
Jacobsen and Brian Gamble, with the FEMEN 
prize, which carried a 20.000FF cash award. The 
videotape is a humorous, unconventional work on 
attitudes toward garbage, shot in Los Angeles in 
1988. 

Jacobsen remarked on the "amazing hospital- 
ity" of the festival and urged anyone making 
media about the environment to consider sending 
work to RIENA, since the festival seemed to be a 
"gold mine" for connections. Both he and Gamble 
were interviewed by the French press, with an 
article published in Repuhlique Francois. 

The RIENA Round Table on Communication 
and the Environment was dominated by French 
television— A2, Canal Plus, la Cinq, FR 3, TF 1— 
and representatives of the French cabinet, but it 
also included representatives from the U.K. (Tel- 
evison for the Environment and Channel 4), West 
German journalists, Canada, Swiss TV, Portu- 
guese TV, Yugoslavian TV, and the U.S. (FIVF, 
Bullfrog Films, and other independents). The 
purpose of the discussion was to compare the 
contribution to education about the enviroment by 
television systems in each country. Some sparks 
were generated by the contention by John Hoskyns- 
Abrahall of Bullfrog Films that a more radical 
point of view was not represented at the festival or 
the roundtable because progressive organizations 
and pressure groups had not been invited. 

Three small on-demand screening rooms were 
set up in the Palais de Congres at the site of the 
competition screenings. The shelves held 115 
videos, including 10 brought by FIVF and several 
from Bullfrog Films. 

After the festival, the RIENA staff took most of 
these to its stand at MIPCOM, the international 
film and television market held in Cannes in mid- 
October. 



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NEW! ,, 

/ From AIVF Publications '. 

/.' Directory of Film and /' 

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THE INDEPENDENT 51 



MEMORANDA 



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In mid-November the Foundation for Indepen- 
dent Video and Film announced the funding of 
five independent documentary film and video 
productions through its Donor- Advised Film and 
Video Fund. 

Homes Apart: The Two Koreas, by Orinne J.T. 
Takagi and Hye Jung Park, a documentary explor- 
ing the consequences of the 40-year division of 
Korea, received a SIO.(XK) postproduction grant 
provided by the Benton Foundation in Washing- 
ton. DC. 

The Beldon Fund, a Washington-based fund 
with an interest in environmental issues, awarded 
grants to four films. Testing the Wasters, by Lynn 
Corcoran, a one-hour video about efforts to solve 
toxic pollution problems in the Niagara River, 
received S3.500 for distribution. Fenix Rising, a 
film tracing the consequences of a cobalt 60 
radiation spill on the U.S./Mexican border, by 
Laurie Coyle, received a S5.000 postproduction 
grant. Amazonia: Voices from the Rainforest, by 
Rosaines Aguirre and Glenn Switkes, received 
$10,000. The Beldon Fund also approved a grant 
of $8,400 to the Grassroots Environmental Ac- 
cess Network, a satellite distribution project of 
Deep Dish T\ . 

Recommendations for funding were made by a 
panel composed of Lillian Jimenez, program offi- 
cer of the Robeson Fund, Janet Sternburg, senior 
media consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation, 
and Winifred Scherrer, codirector of Bullfrog 
Films. 

"The documentaries funded this year are at the 
cutting edge of social and environmental concern 
in this country," said FIVF executive director 
Lawrence Sapadin. "Once again, the FIVF Donor 
Fund has demonstrated the important role the 
foundation community can play in bringing such 
issues to the attention of the American public 
through the support of independent media." 

MEMBERABIUA 

Congrats to Loni Ding, winner of the Media 
Alliance's MAMA Award. 

Kudos to AIVF member recipients of 1989 
National Endow merit for the Humanities Media 
Project grants: Paul Espinosa, Tierra; Loni Ding, 
The Color of Honor, Film Arts Foundation, The 
Life and Work of Friedrich Nietzsche; Aviva 
Kempner, Partisans of Vilna; Candyce Martin, 
The Soger's West; Lawrence Hott. Rebuilding the 
Temple: Cambodian Refugees in America; Robert 
Clem, Alexander Hamilton and the Faith of Fed- 
eralism; Katherine Kline. Abode of Illusion: The 
World of Chang Ta-ch'ien; Jill Janows, Russian 
Modernism: The Life and Work of Anna Akhma- 
tova; Mary E. Lance, The Diego Rivera Film 



Project, Steven Schechter, The Way of Duty; 
Karen Thorsen, James Baldwin: The Price of the 
Ticket, Calvin L. SkaggsM World of Genius: The 

James Family; Tom Davenport. Tales from the 
Brothers Grimm. 

INTERN AT AIVF 

AIVF is seeking volunteer interns or work-study 
students to help run our organization. Update and 
maintain information and festival files, facilitate 
outreach to members, and build our growing book 
and audio sales department. Work in our office 
and know the news as it happens. Call Mary Jane 
Skalski: (212)473-3400 

AIVF REGIONAL 
CORRESPONDENTS 

AIVF has recently instituted a network of re- 
gional correspondents, who will provide mem- 
bership information, hold meetings, and aid re- 
cruitment in areas of the country outside New 
York City. AIVF Members are urged to contact 
them about AIVF-related needs and problems, 
about your activities, and other relevant informa- 
tion and news: 

Howard Aaron, associate director 
Northwest Film and Video Center 
1219 S.W. Park Ave. 
Portland, OR 97205 
(503)221-1156 

Joyce Bolinger. executive director 
Center for New Television 
912 S.Wabash 
Chicago. IL 60605 
(312)427-5446 

Cheryl Chisolm 

2844 Engle Road, NW 
Atlanta, GA 303 18 
(404)792-2167 

Deanna Morse 

3370 Byron Center. SW, #302 
Wyoming. MI 49509 
(615)534-7605 

Barton Weiss 

1611 Rio Vista Drive 
Dallas. TX 75208 
(214)948-7300 



AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS 

Eugene Alelnikoff,* Skip Blumberg (vice 
president), Christine Choy, Dee Davis (sec- 
retary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Dai Sil Kim- 
Gibson (chair), Tom Luddy," Lourdes Por- 
tillo, Robert Richter (president), Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage.* Debo- 
rah Shaffer, Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, John 
Taylor Williams,* Debra Zimmerman (treas- 
urer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors onty 



ATTENTION 
AIVF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column 
is a regular feature in The Independent, 
designed to give AIVF members an 
opportunity to keep the organization 
and others interested in independent 
media informed about current work. 
We profile works-in-progress as well as 
recent releases. AIVF members are in- 
vited to submit detailed information 
about their latest film or videotapefor 
inclusion in In and Out of Production. 
Send descriptions and black and white 
photographs to: The Independent, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor., New York, NY 
10012; attn: In and Out of Production. 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admini- 
stered by The Entertainment Industry 
Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our 
comprehensive medical plan offers: 

•S 1000 deductible 

• 80% coinsurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at S 1 ,000 

maximum & $1,000,000 maximum 
lifetime benefit 

Other plans are available, including 
disability income insurance with a $500 
monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, 
write 

AIVF Membership Services 

625 Broadway. 9th floor 

New York NY 10012 

or call AIVF: (212) 473-3400 



FREELANCERS, 

SELL YOUR SKILLS IN 
THE INDEPENDENT CLASSIFIEDS. 

FOR INFORMATION, SEE PAGE 46. 



52 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1990 



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CONTENTS 





19 



P*5 




w*<*— , 


'^j c ^><t\ 






COVER: The engine that ran Hollywood's 
dream machine— technology and 
economic imperatives — was thoroughly 
documented by the film studios' 
photographers. Film historian Jan- 
Christopher Horak discusses how such 
photographs, together with other 
primary source material like film 
company papers and publicity 
materials, are now being used by 
historians to examine the mythology of 
Hollywood. Photo courtesy International 
Museum of Photography, George 
Eastman House. 



FEATURES 

22 Hollywood Film Stills/Historical Documents 

by Jan-Christopher Horak 

25 In Pursuit of the Past: Film Detective Bengt von zur Muhlen's 
Guide to the World's Film Archives 

by Karen Rosenberg 

2 7 What's in an Acronym? Deciphering New European Media Initiatives 

by Mark Nash 

30 Target: Distribution— The EFDO Program 

by Tessa Horan 

3 MEDIA CLIPS 

Radical Politics and an Art of Quality: Emile de Antonio, 1919-1989 

by Jay Murphy 

Reregulation Looms for Cable Industry 

by Andrew Blau 

Ohio Independents Reap Benefits of State Program Fair 

by Renee Tajima 

MAC Attack: Hard Times for Groups in Chicago and Portland 

The Empire State Strikes Back 

Sequels 

10 FIELD REPORTS 

Inspired Purpose and Exhibition Practices: A Review of 
the Show the Right Thing Conference 

by Valerie Soe 

Germany in Autumn: Mannheim International Film Week and 
the European Media Arts Festival in Osnabriick 

by Karen Rosenberg 

1 5 LEGAL BRIEF 

No Way Out: The IRS Holds Firm on Accounting Requirements 
for Film/Videomakers 

by Martha Gever 

17 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You: Dissolves, Wipes, and Keys 

by Rick Feist 

19 TALKING HEADS 

Twenty Years on Ice: Michael Roemer Discusses The Plot Against Harry 

by Rob Edelman 

34 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

36 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

38 CLASSIFIEDS 

40 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 

Summary of the Minutes of the AWF/FIYF Board of Directors Meeting 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



EDITORIAL 



DEAR READER: 

Yoi MA\ NOTICE A NKW LOOK AND A FEW 

other changes in this issue of The Indepen- 
dent. Beginning another decade of provid- 
ing information and analysis covering all 
aspects of independent media, we have 
decided to revamp our format and expand our editorial outlook. Several of these 
changes have been in the works for some time, such as including more in-depth 
coverage of legal, technical, and business matters. And you will find a substantial 
number of articles along these lines in the future. 

With this issue, we introduce a column devoted to profiles of various individuals 
whose work exemplifies the creativity, intelligence, and commitment characteristic of 
the best independent film and video. Rob Edelman's portrait of filmmaker Michael 
Roemer. whose 1968 The Plot Against Harry was recently taken out of mothballs and 
released theatrically to critical acclaim, inaugurates the new column, entitled 'Talking 
Heads." 

You will also notice that our internationally respected "Festivals" column is now 
entirely devoted to the detailed listings of film and video festivals that previously ran 
under the heading "In Brief." Longer reports on festivals will now appear in "Field 
Reports" section in the front section of the magazine. This month, for example, Karen 
Rosenberg covers the 1989 editions of the Mannheim and Osnabriick festivals in 
"Field Reports." 

One more subtle change in The Independent, which veterans in the field may have 
noted, is that the magazine's contents are no longer easily divided into material related 
to film versus that concerned with video. This is not a policy matter, but rather a 
reflection of the shifts that have occurred over the past few years. Among the contin- 
ual stream of new productions, hybrid work is more common, in keeping with the 
growing saturation of video in the culture at large and technological advances that 
encourage innovative uses of both media, as well as the the shrinking options available 
to those who work with film formats, like 16mm and super 8. More and more 
filmmakers choose to edit on video and some design their work for television audi- 
ences while some videomakers seek to incorporate the visual characteristics of 
particular filmstocks or transfer their completed work for big screen projection. And 
so. the separation — once so passionately defended — has quietly become irrelevant to 
many independents. 

In the past, we sought to maintain a balance between articles specific to the two 
media. Now, however, the relationship between them is better understood as one in 
flux — one of exchange and influence, not absolute contrast or opposition. Mark 
Nash's survey of the plethora of media funding schemes now taking shape in Europe 
in this issue fits this description, profiling a number of recently created programs on 
that continent. Both film and video figure in the various initiatives for subsidy and 
investment, meant to boost the amount and quality of production and seen as an 
essential component in the projected unification of the European Community in 1992. 
The article supplies a much needed, carefully plotted guide to the maze of new 
acronym-identified entities making waves in the trade press, where European copro- 
ductions have become the latest hot topic. 

Although The Independent is not trying to rival Variety, we do want to keep 
current, charting the activities, events, and ideas of interest to independent producers. 
The changes we've been making are part of that project. 

MARTHA GEVER 

Editor 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



IWEPEWENr 



MARCH 1990 
VOLUME 13, NUMBER 2 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Ray Navarro 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PerCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New 
York, NY 10012, (212) 473-3400, a not-for- 
profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and film, and 
by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video and 
film. Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a broad 
range of educational and professional services for 
independents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part 
with public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National Endowment 
for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss or 
damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be edited for 
length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc., except where 
otherwise noted. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's 
previous appearance in The Independent. 
ISSN 0731-5198. The Independent is indexed 
in the Alternative Press Index. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1990 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Carol 
Selton, administrative assistant. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 




RADICAL POLITICS AND AN ART OF QUALITY 

Emile de Antonio, 1919-1989 



JLiil ^ 




Emile de Antonio at his home, 1989 

Photo: Bill and Gwen Sloan 

Below right: De Antonio's Point of 
Order! (1964) distilled 188 hours of 
Army-McCarthy hearings into a 
feature-length film chronicling Senator 
Joseph McCarthy's downfall. 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



When Emile de Antonio died this past December 
15 of a heart attack at age 70, he was revelling in 
the completion of Mr. Hoover and I, a 90-minute 
film autobiography based on the 9,000-page file 
the FBI had compiled on him, which de Antonio 
obtained through the Freedom of Information 
Act. Under the eyes of the FBI since he was 16 
years old and a freshman in John F. Kennedy's 
class at Harvard and later marked for "preventive 
detention" when he enlisted in the Air Force in 
1941 , de Antonio was singled out by the agency 
long before he ever made any of his muckraking 
films. Mr. Hoover and I is a combination of 
powerful rage, detailed storytelling on the insane 
and Keystone Cop-like exploits and foibles of the 
FBI, with softer, generous touches of humor mixed 
in, and it conveys both the harsh taskmaster and 
charming raconteur that was Emile de Antonio. 
The maker of such groundbreaking documentary 
films as Point of Order (1964), In the Year of the 
Pig ( 1 969), and Millhouse ( 1 97 1 ), de Antonio re- 
alized the importance of this film, his first after a 
hiatus of seven years, which many believe ranks 
among his finest. At the time of his death, he was 
gearing up to make another film and to complete 
a book with journalist Warren Hinckle on George 
Bush. 

De Antonio was a dynamo of energy, living on 
four-and-a-half hours of sleep a night and keeping 
a pace that astonished associates half his age. He 
was legendary forgiving time and advice to people 
who were in need of it, whether political radicals 
facing prison or young filmmakers like Ron Mann, 
Margia Kramer, and Cinda Firestone. Mann, 



producer of Comic Book Confidential, testifies, "I 
wouldn't be making films if it weren't for him." 
Calling theirs "a very Socratic relationship," Mann 
says, "I recall De saying, 'Help your true friends 
and lovers, or the world will never move ahead.' 
That was a tenet he held. With what Allen Ginsberg 
called crazy wisdom, De helped many of us move 
ahead." 

De Antonio had a knack for being there at the 
right time in young artists' lives — taking photog- 
rapher Diane Arbus to 42nd Street, convincing 
Andy Warhol in the late 1950s that he could leave 
his commercial art career behind. De Antonio's 
friendships with painters like Warhol, Jasper Johns, 
Robert Rauschenberg, and Barnett Newman would 
furnish him with material for one of his films, 
Painters Painting (1972). Watching the Army- 
McCarthy hearings with John Cage in 1954 over 
numerous bottles of single malt whiskey would 
lead to his first film, Point of Order!, which con- 
sisted of edited kinescopes of the television broad- 
casts from the Senate hearing room. He credited 
his original inspiration to make films to Robert 
Frank's Pull My Daisy, a model of economy of 
means, and, in a deeper sense, to pundit friends 
like Cage and Rauschenberg, who pioneered a 
way of making art out of the detritus of the mass 
media. 

If in a formal sense de Antonio's films rein- 
vented themselves with each new topic, content- 
wise they consistently tackled the most pressing 
and controversial subjects dealing with the U.S. 
Cold War empire in serious decline. Point of 
Order! showed the fall of Senator Joseph Mc- 




MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 



presents 

SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

Call for Entries 
for 
1990 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/TV 

COMMISSION 

Dept. of Economic Development 

H. Lee Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



Carthy, a demagogue who demonstrated the new 
found power of television. In Rush to Judgment 
( 1 %6), with Mark Lane, he examined the Warren 
Commission's whitewash of the Kennedy 
assassination. In the Year of the Pig was a Marxist 
look at the Vietnam War which presented Ho Chi 
Minh in a heroic light. Millhouse presented a 
scathing political portrait of Richard Nixon told 
through the eyes of the media. Combined with his 
other subjects — the debacle of the 1968 Demo- 
cratic National Convention (America Is Hard to 
See, 1969), the transformation of white middle- 
class students into revolutionaries during the 
antiwar movement (Underground, 1 976), and the 
left-wing Catholic Plowshares movement of civil 
disobedience (In the King of Prussia, 1982) — de 
Antonio's oeuvre sweeps across contemporary 
.history, politics, and power, making him, in the 
words of filmmaker Jonas Mekas, "the 
Shakespeare of American documentary." 

For de Antonio, being on Nixon's "enemies 
list" or winning First Amendment protection for 
his film on the Weather Underground was a greater 
honor than any Academy Award nomination, 
such as he received for In the Year of the Pig. 
"Radical politics and an art of quality. They are 
not incompatible," was an adage de Antonio held 
to throughout his life. Creating an indigenous 
U.S. liberation movement which had a place for 
art was his major animating concern. Toward the 
close of Mr. Hoover and I, de Antonio said he had 
glimpsed new stirrings toward social change in 
the U.S. and the novel forms those struggles 
would take. That had to contribute to his energy 
and optimism in the autumn of his life. 

JAY MURPHY 

Jay Murphy is writing The Art of Disorder, a 
biography of de Antonio, and edits Red Bass 
magazine in New Orleans. 

REREGULATION LOOMS FOR 
CABLE INDUSTRY 

"We can't close our ears to the shouts from con- 
stituents," announced Senator Daniel Inouye (D- 
Hawaii) at a hearing on the cable television indus- 
try held last November. Inouye, who chairs the 
Senate Communications Subcommittee, was re- 
ferring to the complaints about excessive rate 
hikes, poor service, and monopolistic practices 
that have led to calls to reregulate the cable indus- 
try just five years after passage of the Cable 
Communications Policy Act of 1984, which set 
the deregulatory stage for cable's tremendous 
growth in the late 1980s. In light of mounting 
congressional interest, Inouye predicted that "this 
Congress will act on some measure that will bring 
about some reregulation." 

Congress has many such measures from which 
to choose, with approximately 1 5 cable regulation 
bills up for consideration. The leading contender 
is a bill introduced in November by Senator John 
Danforth (R-Missouri), ranking minority mem- 
ber of the Commerce, Science, and Transporta- 



tion Committee and a leading Republican voice 
on communications issues. Danforth lined up 14 
cosponsors from both parties for his Cable Tele- 
vision Consumer Protection Act (S. 1880), in- 
cluding many members of the Communications 
Subcommittee and its parent Commerce Commit- 
tee. This support, plus that of major consumer 
groups and the broadcasting industry, immedi- 
ately made the bill the likeliest vehicle for cable 
regulation. At a press conference announcing the 
bill's introduction, cosponsor and longtime sup- 



Senator Al Gore: "We 
have reached a critical 
mass of support for 
enacting meaningful 
cable legislation in this 
Congress." 



porter of cable regulation Albert Gore (D-Tennes- 
see) said that, with the broad bipartisan support 
for S. 1880, "we have reached a critical mass of 
support for enacting meaningful cable legislation 
in this Congress." 

That support is being driven by two vocal 
sources of complaints — consumers, who are angry 
about escalating cable rates, effectively deregu- 
lated by the 1 984 Cable Act, and competitors such 
as broadcasters, who are concerned about the 
cable industry's increasing size, power, and verti- 
cal integration. Both charge that cable is an 
"unregulated monopoly" that must be controlled. 

Danforth's bill has won wide endorsement 
because it addresses complaints Congress has 
been hearing and it incorporates many of the 
measures contained in the other cable reregula- 
tion bills now before Congress. The Danforth bill 
would allow most cities to regulate rates and give 
them more authority to deny renewals of the 
franchises awarded to local cable operators. It 
would restore the must carry rule, which requires 
that cable operators include local broadcast chan- 
nels in their basic service package and protect 
broadcasters from sudden changes in their desig- 
nated cable channel positions. It would also put 
the brakes on the concentration of ownership, 
limiting multi-system operators to 15 percent of 
the nation's cable subscribers, a cap which one 
operator, Tele-Communications, Inc., has already 
surpassed. Finally, the Danforth bill would im- 
pose rules prohibiting anticompetitive business 
practices by cable program services, such as HBO's 
refusal to sell programming to potential competi- 
tors like wireless cable, presumably due to the 
vested interest of HBO's parent company, Time- 
Warner, in cable systems that it also owns. 

For all the topics the bill covers, one of the 
biggest on the national communications policy 
agenda is notably absent: whether telephone 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



companies, or "telcos," should be allowed into the 
cable business. The telcos have been lobbying 
furiously to remove barriers that keep them from 
delivering video over their wires. They have won 
support from some key legislators, including Sen- 
ate Communications Subcommittee member Gore, 
whose own cable regulation bill, S. 1068, would 
have eliminated the telco-cable crossownership 
prohibition. However, Danforth's omnibus bill 
sidesteps the issue entirely, a decision that im- 
proves its chances for speedy consideration, since 
the telco question would significantly complicate 
the bill's progress as it moves through legislative 
channels. 

The bill also ignores public, educational, and 
governmental (PEG) access, as well as leased 
access. Members of the PEG access community 
have recognized that many of the problems they 
face stem from flaws in the 1984 Cable Act — 
including lack of stable funding for access opera- 
tions, unenforced franchise agreements, franchise 
modification requests to scale back access com- 
mitments, and an inability to ensure that commu- 
nity needs are met at renewal time. Although 
Congress invited Sharon Ingraham, chair of the 
National Federation of Local Cable Programmers 
and PEG advocate, to testify at the Senate over- 
sight hearings last November, they have not yet 
addressed the problems she raised about the trouble 
PEG access operations face around the country. 

Danforth's bill, which will probably be the 
subject of a subcommittee hearing this spring, 
may be joined on the agenda by a cable reregula- 
tion bill that Inouye is said to be preparing. Mean- 
while, the House of Representatives also has 
cable on its mind. Representative Jim Cooper (D- 
Tennessee) introduced H.R. 3826, which is iden- 
tical to Danforth's bill and will probably be con- 
sidered by the House Telecommunications and 
Finance Subcommittee this spring. Edward 
Markey (D-Massachusetts), chair of that subcom- 
mittee, has announced his intention to hold an 
oversight hearing in the coming months. 

Given the vocal opposition from the cable 
industry, a political year shortened by elections in 
November, and the compromise dynamics of the 
political process, the Danforth bill is unlikely to 
become law in its current form. But the outlines of 
cable reform in 1990 or 1991 are now much 
sharper. Some form of rate regulation, increased 
city authority, and limits on cable growth may 
shift the ground rules for cable in the 1990s. 

ANDREW BLAU 

Andrew Blau analyzes communications policy for 
the Office of Communication, United Church of 
Christ. 

OHIO INDEPENDENTS REAP 
BENEFITS OF STATE 
PROGRAM FAIR 

As independents continue to make headway with 
public broadcasting on a national level, a group of 
producers in Ohio have hammered out a promis- 



ing new model programming venue with public 
broadcasters in that state. This April the Ohio 
Independent Producers Screening, an event that 
draws program directors from the state's eight 
public television stations, will be convened for the 
third year in a row. At the day-long meeting, 
programmers will have a chance to screen works 
produced by Ohio independents, vote and com- 
ment on shows, and then acquire them for broad- 
cast individually or as series. 

The innovative and, from all accounts, highly 
successful new project is cosponsored by the Ohio 
Valley Regional Media Arts Coalition 
(OVRMAC), which represents local independents, 
together with Ohio Educational Broadcasting 
(OEB), a service agency for the state's public 
broadcasters, and the Ohio Arts Council. Accord- 
ing to one of the fair's coordinators, filmmaker 
Julia Reichert, the idea emerged two years ago at 
a conference put together by OVRMAC member 
Austin Allen, with the goal of finding a way to 
bring public television programmers and inde- 
pendents together. An organizing committee was 
formed, and Reichert met with Don Freeman, then 
head of OEB. He brought the program directors 
together; OVRMAC gathered submissions and 
formed a screening committee. The project was 
launched. 

Speaking as one who has experienced a public 
television program fair, be assured that the Ohio 
meeting is no small achievement. Reichert con- 
firms that the programmers seemed very suspi- 
cious of independents at first. To quell those 
concerns, she put together a 50-minute compila- 
tion reel of independent producers' work from 
around the state, with free editing time provided 
by Access Columbus Television's cable access 
studio. "Programmers who were nervous," says 
Reichert, "came out really surprised." About 30 
people were expected at the first program fair, and 
over 1 00 attended. One useful strategy was organ- 
izing regional tables at lunch, so producers and 
programmers from the same area could meet and 
get to know each other. Out of the 18 works 
screened at the first fair, about a dozen were 
acquired for broadcast and each was paid a $50 
honorarium. 

During the second fair last April, program 
directors bought several more works and at a 
higher rate — from $100 for programs under 15 
minutes to $250 for a one-hour time slot. Again, 
selections from a pool of over 50 submissions 
were prescreened by representatives from OEB, 
OVRMAC, the National Black Programming 
Consortium — which is based in Columbus — and 
the independent community. Says current direc- 
tor of OEB Dan Smith, "The program directors 
feel that the quality of work increased the second 
year." According to Smith, although some sta- 
tions may pick up only one or two single pro- 
grams, those in Cleveland, Toledo, and the Akron 
area have packaged Ohio independents' work as a 
series. OEB has been instrumental in the project's 
success, providing administrative costs and facili- 
ties and paying for the meeting itself. 



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For this spring's third annual fair. Reichert 
expects the group to try to raise the acquisition 
fees. Program directors have also expressed a 
willingness to screen works-in-progress. which 
may encourage presales or postproduction oppor- 
tunities. Fresh from an OVRMAC board retreat, 
Allen explained that the organization has begun 
discussions with media arts centers in the state to 
carry on the program fair effort that OVRMAC 
began. 

For more information, contact: Tim Crouse 
(513) 542-5587 or Julia Reichert (513)486-3841. 

RENEE TAJIMA 



MAC ATTACK: HARD TIMES 
FOR GROUPS IN CHICAGO 
AND PORTLAND 

Two media arts centers are fighting to stay afloat 
in rough financial waters. The most severe cut- 
backs are being experienced by the Media Project 
in Portland. Oregon, which has closed its office 
and returned to a board-operated structure. The 
Media Project previously sponsored screenings, 
including the Rainbow Film Festival, held work- 
shops, and published books, including The Next 
Step: Distributing Independent Films and Video, 
copublished with Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers. But. according to acting 
board chair Barbara Bernstein, the National En- 
dowment for the Arts severely cut back the or- 
ganization's funding over the last three years, 
from SI 5.000 to S5.000. She attributes this to the 
NEA Media Program's tendency to concentrate 
money in larger institutions — the Northw est Film 
and Video Center gets most of the media arts 
funding for the state of Oregon. Despite these 
cutbacks, the Media Project will continue its fis- 
cal sponsorship program and screenings of inde- 
pendent work. They are also looking into the 
possibility of working jointly with other nonprof- 
its. 

In Chicago, the Center for New Television 
(CNTV) also faced funding cutbacks when the 
Illinois Arts Council, a major underwriter of the 
organization's general operating expenses for the 
past decade, dropped funding altogether last year. 
This came just after CNTV moved into a larger, 
more expensive facility with new video equip- 
ment and long-time executive director Joyce 
Bolinger resigned her post. According to program 
director Madonna Gauding. the center will have 
to relocate to a less expensive space, but plans to 
continue its programs for artists, with video w ork- 
shops starting in January, as well as production of 
the new independent showcase series The 90' s. 

CNTV board members remain optimistic about 
the center's future. "It's been a hard and confusing 
time," says chair emeritus Tom Weinberg, "but 
the center's alive and well. People are rallying 
around CNTV now." According to board mem- 
ber Annette Barbier. the organization is taking the 
opportunity of the transition to "try to reenvision 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 





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Video artist Julie 
Zando withdrew her 
work from an 
exhibition at the New 
York State Museum in 
Albany because of a 
conflict with museum 
officials over viewing 
restrictions placed on 
her tapes, including 
The A Ha! Experience 
(pictured). 

Courtesy Video Data Bonk 



UGHTHEARTED NATION 



what CNTV is about and decide what artists need 
and who we want to serve." By February, they 
hope to hire a new executive director who, says 
Barbier, will have vision and will come in and 
help rethink what the center will be in the future. 

RT 

THE EMPIRE STATE 
STRIKES BACK 

The chilling effect of the controversies surround- 
ing the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and 
Andres Serrano, attacked as "morally reprehen- 
sible trash" by conservative legislators in the U.S. 
Congress, made its way to Albany, New York, 
late last year. At issue was a compilation reel of 
four videos by Buffalo-based artist Julie Zando, 
part of "The State of Upstate: New York Women 
Artists" exhibition organized by independent 
curator Nina Felshin for the New York State 
Museum. After a full month of bickering, negotia- 
tions, and finally agreement, it is still not clear 
whether the conflict was a case of de facto censor- 
ship, bureaucratic missteps, artist overreaction, 
miscommunication. bad timing, or all of the above. 

The Tapes: Zando's reel includes material 
dealing with sexual and violent themes. Hey Bud, 
for example, revolves around the suicide of Penn- 
sylvania state treasurer Budd Dwyer, who shot 
himself at a press conference, with cameras roll- 
ing. This footage is juxtaposed with scenes of a 
woman unzipping the dress of another, as the 
artist explains in her program notes, to explore 
"the power seated in the position of the exhibition- 
ist." The A Ha! Experience, a tape that explores 
love and power between mother and child, has 
sexually explicit scenes. 

The Venue: The New York State Museum is 
not the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the site of conflict 
over the Mapplethorpe exhibition. It is a natural 
history museum; about 60 percent of its visitors 
are children. Although the museum has no man- 
date to show contemporary art along with its 
dinosaur dioramas, it has done so under director 



Martin Sullivan, even presenting what may be 
considered controversial exhibits. In 1984 the 
museum cosponsored "Disarming Images: Art 
for Nuclear Disarmament" and now is showing 
"Committed to Print," an exhibition of radical 
political printmaking. 

The Conflict: According to Felshin, the mu- 
seum was wary about showing the Zando tapes 
and asked whether she would agree to find substi- 
tutes. She refused after informing Zando, and the 
museum then took several steps to alert parents to 
the sexually explicit content of the show. A 
"parental discretion" sign was placed outside the 
screening room and a similar warning added to the 
beginning of the compilation reel. The reel was 
shown only once a day and a sign outside the 
screening room warned latecomers not to enter 
while the screening was in progress. 

When Zando was notified about this screening 
arrangement in October, she charged censorship 
and homophobia, citing the warning labels and 
limited screenings. In a letter dated November 7, 
she demanded that all warnings be removed and 
the tapes be shown three times a day. Getting no 
response, Zando withdrew her tapes two weeks 
later. What followed were a flurry of letters but, 
typical throughout the entire affair, little commu- 
nication. The museum had not conferred with 
Zando about screening conditions — a move di- 
rector of exhibitions and interpretation Robert 
Sullivan (no relation to Martin) admits was a 
mistake. Zando took the matter public in a letter to 
other artists in the exhibition dated the same day 
as her first correspondence with the museum, 
where she called for a letter-writing campaign to 
protest the museum's treatment of her work. 

Through the Thanksgiving holiday, the parties 
continued to attempt to come to terms, with the 
prodding of curator Felshin. It was not until a few 
days before the New Year that a compromise was 
achieved: The museum agreed to screen the tapes 
at least twice daily, the dub with the warning label 
was replaced by Zando's original reel, visitors 
were allowed to enter and leave the room freely 



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during show times, and the cautionary sign at the 
entrance remained. 

"The State of Upstate" will travel to the Burch- 
field Art Center in Buffalo, and a portion of the 
show will go to the National Museum of Women 
in the Arts in Washington, D.C. According to 
Felshin, the latter institution has asked to review 
Zando's tapes. Felshin, in turn, insisted that they 
provide written confirmation that the tapes will be 
included in the show as curated 

Will 1989's controversy have any effect on the 
future of contemporary art exhibition at the New 
York State Museum? Felshin says she wouldn't 
be surprised if it stopped showing contemporary 
art altogether, especially with advocate Martin 
Sullivan leaving for another job. Robert Sullivan 
is more philosophical. He hopes contemporary art 
will continue at the museum and says, "You get to 
a point in these controversies when people higher 
up get gun-shy, and you have to convince them 
that it's worth it. I've seen a lot of that recently. 
People get into an avoidance mode. But I also 
hope artists don't start being cautious about their 
work. I respected that [in this case] they banded 
together and kept institutions on the alert. But I 
would have wanted a more collegial approach." 
Says Zando of the museum, "If it's contemporary 
art, especially a women's show, it's obviously 
going to deal with issues of gender and sexuality. 
They should have taken a braver stand in the be- 
ginning." 

RT 



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8 THE INDEPENDENT 



SEQUELS 

In response to conservative attacks, several major 
national arts organizations are banding together to 
coordinate a show of support on Capitol Hill for 
federal arts funding ["Punitive Damages: Con- 
gress Threatens Cuts in NEA Funding," October 
1989]. Advocacy Day, scheduled for March 20, 
will draw arts advocates from all over the country 
to Washington, D.C, to exchange information, 
consider how best to stave off mounting threats 
against the National Endowments, and personally 
present their case for arts funding to their individ- 
ual congressional representatives. Organizing 
Advocacy Day are the American Arts Alliance, 
American Association of Museums, American 
Council for the Arts, National Assembly of Local 
Arts Agencies, and National Assembly of State 
Arts Agencies, all of whom encouraging mem- 
bers who cannot travel to the capital to send a 
special Advocacy Day message to their legisla- 
tors. 

□ □ □ 

Humourist Art Buchwald won a breach of con- 
tract lawsuit against Paramount Pictures when a 
California superior court ruled in January that the 
idea for the hit movie Coming to America was 
Buchwald's, not Eddie Murphy's, as the studio 
claimed ["Alike Is Not Similar: Copyright In- 
fringement Court Cases," June 1989]. In 1983 



MARCH 1990 



Buchwald sold Paramount a story idea for a film 
about a member of African royalty who would 
travel to the U.S. and wind up working at a menial 
job in an urban ghetto. The judge found sufficient 
similarities between this and Coming to America 
to warrant aruling in Buchwald'sfavorbut stopped 
short of saying the studio had acted in bad faith. 
Consequently no damages were awarded, but 
Paramount is expected to pay the columnist and 
Alain Bernheim, a producer and coplaintiff, 
$250,000 and 19 percent of the film's profits, as 
stipulated in their contracts. Said Buchwald, "I 
think this is good for writers and bad for the guys 
who write the contracts." Paramount announced it 
will appeal. 

□ □ □ 

PBS's latest documentary on the Palestinian/Is- 
raeli conflict, A Search for Solid Ground: The 
Intifada through Israeli Eyes, aired January 16 
without either the vituperate criticism or elaborate 
packaging that accompanied last year's Days of 
Rage: The Young Palestinians ["Promises, Prom- 
ises," July 1989]. This raised some eyebrows, 
since A Search for Solid Ground was open to 
charges similar to those levelled against Days of 
Rage: bias (no Palestinians were interviewed) and 
financial impropriety. Financing for A Search for 
Solid Ground was obtained with the help of the 



Israeli consul general in New York, Uriel Savir, 
who put the producers in touch with businessmen 
involved in Jewish causes. Days of Rage was 
attacked because of the financial backing of the 
Arab-American Cultural Foundation, on whose 
board the program's producer sits. 

□ □ □ 

A newly established Andy Warhol Museum is 

scheduled to open in 1992, containing the artist's 
films, videotapes, prints, drawings, and archival 
materials ["Beauty, Flesh, and the Empire of 
Absence: Resighting Warhol," December 1988]. 
The museum is the result of an agreement between 
the Dia Art Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foun- 
dation for the Visual Arts, and the Carnegie Insti- 
tute, which will maintain the museum, with Mark 
Francis acting as director. 

□ □ □ 

The four percent New York City sales tax on the 

rental and sales of production and postproduction 
equipment has been eliminated as of December 1 , 
1 989. Previously, the amount of tax paid could be 
recovered by filing for a tax credit, but this re- 
quired extensive accounting. The elimination of 
the tax results is an immediate out-of-pocket 
savings for producers and postproduction facili- 
ties doing business in New York City. 



□ □ □ 

On November 21 President Bush signed the FY 
1990 Labor, Health, and Human Services appro- 
priations bill containing the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting's FY 1992 appropriation 

of $251.03-million for general operations and 
$76.25-million for satellite replacement. 

□ □ □ 

After six years at Sundance Institute, most re- 
cently as program director of the US Film Festival, 
Tony Safford has been named vice president of 
acquisitions and coproductions at New Line Cine- 
ma. Joy Silverman, executive director of Los 
Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) since 
1983, has resigned effective March. She plans to 
move to New York City and commit her time to 
working on freedom of expression issues. The 
new director of CPB's Television Program Fund 
is Donald Marbury, previously the associate 
director of Cultural and Children's Programs. He 
will be responsibile for managing funds for major 
series like Frontline, Open Solicitations, the Public 
Television Program Challenge Fund, and the mi- 
nority programming initiative. Susan Ivers has 
been named coordinator of media arts and inter- 
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THE INDEPENDENT 9 



FIELD REPORTS 



INSPIRED PURPOl flON PRACTICES 

A Review of thM ling Conference 



VALERIE SOE 



My mom sells insurance — life insurance, mostly. 
She's been doing it for a long time now, so she's 
gotten pretty good at it. Because of her notable 
numbers in packaging attractive retirement in- 
vestments and providing for widows and orphans, 
her company sends her to big sales conferences 
every year at resorts around the country, where 
she and like-minded individuals in the life insur- 
ance business get together for a few days of 
caucuses, seminars, and panels. 

One aspect of these conferences that I find 
fascinating is the practice of bringing in inspira- 
tional speakers to address the plenary. The speak- 
ers needn't have any tie to selling insurance: 
apparently the most important criteria is the indi- 
vidual's ability to rouse and stimulate the gath- 
ered insurance agents with heroic tales of success 
against great odds. Two particularly moving speak- 
ers of past conferences have been a girl who sold 
a record number of cookies for her Girl Scout 
troop — something like 20,000 boxes in one sell- 
ing season — and a young paraplegic man who 
paints watercolors with a brush held between his 
teeth. My mother has recounted to me how grow n 
men are often brought to tears and women sob at 
the tales of adversity overcome. After it's over, 
everyone feels really warm and united with one 
another and leaves the conference inspired to go 
forth and sell more and better insurance. It sounds 
like quite an event. 

I was reminded of this scenario at the Show the 
Right Thing conference held last September in 
New York City. Organized by the Film News 
Now Foundation (FNN), funded by the New York 
State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the 
Rockefeller Foundation, among others. Show the 





■ i 



The Corporation for 
Public Broad- 
casting's Jennifer 
Lawson (left) talks 
to independent 
producers Loni Ding, 
Austin Allen, and 
other conferees 
about CPB's plans 
for the S3-million 
Congress recently 
allocated for 
minority 
programming. 

Courtesy Film News Now 
Foundation 



Endowment for the Arts (NEA), while topics of 
discussion included finding and keeping an audi- 
ence, redefining a Third World aesthetic, and 
mainstream vs. marginal venues, among others. 
Yet despite its broad scope and lofty goals, the 
conference was fairly cohesive and coherent and, 
curiously enough, more than a little inspiring. 
Participants, among whom were some of the most 
calloused veterans of the independent producer 
and nonprofit jungles, seemed somehow heart- 
ened by the goings-on. It was as if we, the Third 
World film and video community, had put on our 
own latter-day revival meeting and, like the hardy 
insurance agents, had come away fortified against 
the daily battles we encounter in our field. 

The disparate interests that influenced the plan- 
ning of the conference (FNN. Rockefeller, and 
NYSCA) led to an intriguing and not altogether 
comfortable balance between money-grubbing 
survival techniques, artsy aestheticism, and cold- 
hearted intellectual theorizing. Despite the diver- 



Ihe incisive comments found in the two plenary sessions 
added that extra oomph of intellectualism that so many 
of us need to justify our movie-making compulsion. 



Right Thing offered an ambitious program of 
panels, caucuses, and screenings revolving around 
the theme of Third World film and video exhibi- 
tion. Participants ran the gamut from independent 
producers from Minnesota, media activists from 
New York, and administrators from the National 



sity, however, which at times resulted in heated 
exchanges, team spirit prevailed and the confer- 
ence became a fascinating reflection of the cur- 
rent state of independent multicultural film and 
video production and programming. 

The obligatory icebreaker the first evening 



was held at Warner Communications' midtown 
headquarters, where conferees got a first glimpse 
at the conference's executive committee while 
schmoozing and nibbling on hors d'oeuvres. Fund- 
ers rubbed elbows with their constituency, artists 
met their distributors, and for many it was their 
first chance to match faces with voices heard on 
the telephone or bylines read in our favorite pub- 
lications. The reception was also one in a series of 
opportunities to exchange business cards and catch 
up on each other's careers while absorbing the 
hospitality of the host organizations. 

The conference began in earnest on Friday 
morning with keynote speaker Toni Cade Bam- 
bara, setting the tone for the weekend with her 
low- key, astute speech outlining the need for film 
and video production by people of color. "So we 
picked up the camera," she wryly observed, refer- 
ring to the response of Third World media produc- 
ers to the myopia of the "four white guys" on the 
network TV news. Her remarks, delivered with a 
keen ear for the vernacular, described the role of 
media in affecting social change and managed to 
be at once incisive and uplifting, striking the right 
chord of cautious optimism to a crowd of cagey 
media arts workers. 

The schedule, chock full of activities running 
from 9:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. both Friday and 
Saturday, plus optional parties planned for the 
two evenings, offered more than enough to keep 
conferees hopping. Many panels had similar- 
sounding, utilitarian titles, such as "Who Is the 
Audience?," "Building an Audience." and "Chal- 
lenging the Audience," and it took close scrutiny 
and a working knowledge of the various panelists 
to efficiently and effectively budget one's time. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



Add to that the extra enticement of a complete and 
separate selection of almost 100 films and videos 
available for screening running concurrent with 
panels, along with the lure of New York City in 
autumn, and the conference became something of 
an embarrassment of riches. 

On top of all that, topics of discussion over the 
weekend were anything but lightweight, ranging 
from an analysis of the dire problems and ob- 
stacles surrounding the exhibition and distribu- 
tion of films and videos by people of color (big- 
otry and institutional racism; ignorance in the 
mainstream; apathy in the community), possible 
concrete solutions to those problems (tapping 
unusual funding sources; hitting up traditional 
sources for more support; creating more access to 
exhibition), and more abstract, cerebral reasons 
why we all do what we do (exemplified in Bam- 
bara's speech and the plenary sessions). Again, 
the varying home bases of participants contrib- 
uted to the manifold topics of conversation in 
meeting rooms and at lunchtime. 

Because of the amalgamation of disparate 
participants, one had the sneaking suspicion that 
the panels might have been devised for maximum 
confrontation, with a one-from-column A, one- 
from-column B system of selection mingling 
representatives from mainstream institutions (e.g., 
New York Film Society director Richard Pena, 
KCET director of broadcasting Jackie Kain, Pa- 
cific Film Archives director Edith Kramer), major 
funders (Marsha Bonner from the Aaron Dia- 
mond Foundation, Jennifer Lawson from the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller 
Foundation senior program advisor Janet Stern- 
burg), and artists and administrators from com- 
munity-based organizations (videomaker Rich- 
ard Fung, Atlanta Third World Film Festival's 
Cheryl Chisholm, Lillian Jimenez in her role as 
director of the Latino Film and Video Festival at 
El Museo del Barrio). In some cases this strategy 
aggravated the more excitable attendees' patience 
and sorely tried the rules of polite debate and 
constructive criticism. In at least two panels the 
question of "quality" caused waves of dissent 
among participants, split between PBS associates 
excusing work by Third World people and inde- 
pendent producers and distributors reacting to 
what they saw as condescension. During a panel 



on funding, Renee Tajima responded to Rocky 
Mountain Film Center director Virgil Grillo's 
claim that funders often were forced to lower their 
quality standards in order to consider work by 
Third World film- or videomakers. Tajima stated 
that Who Killed Vincent Chin?, the film she pro- 
duced with Christine Choy, received the highest 
ratings of any work in PBS 's P.O. V. series, noting 
that Vincent Chin, as well as many other films by 
people of color, were of the highest quality while 
still addressing concerns of specific constituen- 
cies. This clash underscored the ideological dif- 
ferences in evidence among the conferees. In this 
exchange, however, as well as at a few other 
points during the conference, the diversity of 
participants served a more practical purpose, 
defusing most extraneous conflicts by preventing 
polarization. 

One of the prevailing undercurrents through- 
out the conference, reflecting the cold comfort 
most artists can expect in these times, was the 
proliferation of conversations centering around 
the most profitable method of acquiring corporate 
and public funding. Several times film and video 
was referred to as "product" and a goodly amount 
of huddling was done by a number of the Third 
World arts administrators present, planning strate- 
gies around the distribution of the increased CPB 
funding for "minority" production recently or- 
dered by Congress. Fiscal responsibility and 
economic solvency are real concerns for the media 
arts these days, proven by the presence at the 
conference of such earnest financial machina- 
tions. 

Vaguely entitled "Politics of Culture" and 
"Aesthetics of Media," two plenary sessions held 
at midday on Friday and Saturday sought to raise 
the level of discussion from commerce to more 
high-minded subjects. Friday 's panel, "Politics of 
Culture," included critic Coco Fusco and play- 
wright David Henry Hwang, as well as philoso- 
pher Cornel West and filmmaker Arthur Rog- 
bodiyan (aka AJ Fielder). Their respective com- 
mentaries, tenuously related to the panel's am- 
biguous theme, were astute and thoughtful, pro- 
viding an interesting display of the individual 
character of each panelist. Fusco' s high energy 
presentation outlined her experience as a "POC" 
(person of color) struggling to resist ghettoization 



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by the dominant culture. Apologizing at the start 
for her cynicism, Fusco made several salient points 
regarding the problematic position of working 
from a Third World perspective without sinking 
into marginalization. Hwang related a much more 
low-key and informal account of his experience, 
describing his experiences as an Asian American 
artist not particularly dedicated to telling the es- 
sential Asian American story. Hwang recounted 
his realization that speaking sincerely and pas- 
sionately about nonculturally specific issues was 
more effective than half-heartedly trying to speak 
universally on concerns of race and culture. 

The refined and cerebral West, chair of Afro- 
American Studies at Princeton, discussed a strat- 
egy for approaching the formation of what he 
termed "a substantitive subculture" in conjunc- 
tion with analyzing the structure of the culture, 
moving beyond established beliefs about that 
culture and taking from postmodern theory what- 
ever applicable lessons could be found to create a 
radical approach to cultural aesthetics. In con- 
trast, Rogbodiyan gave a funky fresh speech, 
complete with sound effects, that traced some of 
the sources of an African American aesthetic, 
counting among them the trauma of the Middle 
Passage, polyrhythmic pleasure, and dubwise 
reggae stylings. 

Saturday's plenary was even more mind-ex- 
panding, with panelists relating their personal 
takes on the topic of "Aesthetics of Media," the 
ostensible subject at hand. Native American film- 
maker George Burdeau rendered a straightfor- 
ward telling of his efforts to seek his own ethnic 
perspective both inside and outside the main- 
stream. Film historian and critic Clyde Taylor 
argued contrapuntally that the very need for defin- 
ing an aesthetics impedes the growth and expan- 
sion of the medium, reiterating Bambara's obser- 
vation that "their aesthetic is our anesthetic." The 
appeal and genius of an artist such as Louis 
Armstrong, he suggested, was not a result of a 
Black aesthetic but what he termed "hoodoo — 
things we don't want to remember." 

Writer and teacher Bell Hooks examined un- 
conventional sources of the development of her 
aesthetic, discussing the "shadows" of beauty in 
her grandmother's home and the impact therein 
on her perceptions and system of values, while in 



her presentation, Latina artist and critic Amalia 
Mesa-Bains noted the complications of bicultu- 
ralism, including what she termed "a lack of 
linguistic loyalty" that leads to distancing from 
culture. The incisive comments found in the two 
plenary sessions added that extra oomph of intel- 
lectualism that so many of us need to justify our 
movie-making compulsion. 

More nebulous, yet equally significant to the 
mood of the conference, was the unusual sensa- 
tion I felt of being a full participant in the goings- 
on, instead of a token observer or one brought in 
to fill a quota. Although conference organizers 
guaranteed the presence of representatives from 
mainstream institutions, the majority of conferees 
were people of color and this demographic rever- 
sal definitely swung the perspective of the collec- 
tive consciousness around. 

For once the need for individual ethnic groups 
to huddle in caucuses or during breaks felt super- 
fluous. There was an ease among the people of 
color in attendance that sprang from a sense of 
belonging not often found at media conferences, 
or in film and video, or in real life. This seemed 
somehow integral to the success of the confer- 
ence, fortifying participants from all cultural 
backgrounds, as we felt that for once our voices 
were heard and our concerns valid. 

Although, as executive committee member 
Linda Gibson noted, "We'll know in a year how 
successful the conference was," by the end of the 
two-and-a-half day conferring of minds folks were 
more optimistic than when they started. Some 
positively had a glow on. With luck and hard work 
the positive effects of the conference will carry 
over into everyday affairs, affecting the way things 
are perceived in this society. Perhaps the confer- 
ence may go down as an extravagant pep rally, but 
it served the critical purpose of validating our ef- 
forts and encouraging the battle-weary. After that, 
feeling renewed and ready to retrench, we can, as 
Bambara stated at the outset, continue to "em- 
power the eye." 

Valerie Soe is a video artist and critic living in San 
Francisco. Her work includes All Orientals Look 
the Same , a short experimental videotape that has 
been screened throughout the United States and 
abroad and won numerous awards. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 




GERMANY IN AUTUM 

[annheim International Film 
Media Art Festival 



the European 



Week and 
in Osnabriick 



KAREN ROSENBERG 



The Mannheim (West Germany) International 
Film Week, because of its strong ties with the 
Third World and Eastern Europe, can shake up 
your understanding of how the world is arranged. 
In 1989, from October 2 to 7, young filmmakers 
who emigrated from Czechoslovakia after 1968 
chatted and joked with people still working in the 
Prague. West German students of documentary 
film recommended an East German documentary 
by Volker Koepp called Maerkische Ziegel (Bran- 
denburg Bricks), a prize-winner which I unfortu- 
nately missed. Viewers struck by the complex 
visual symbols of Nar-o-ney asked its director, 
Saied Ebrahimifar, how such a film could be made 
in Iran in the 1980s. He responded that poetry has 
existed in his country for thousands of years and 
continues to live. These interchanges were as 
important to me as the films themselves. 

And then there were the organized post-screen- 
ings discussions that began at midnight and might 
last till 4:00 a.m. There you can discover the 
popular West German indoor sport: polemicizing. 
I gather it is socially acceptable at Mannheim to 
tell a filmmaker that his film stinks (my gentle 
translation; many discussions were conducted only 
in German) and to argue that point back and forth 
with his defenders at a rather high volume. When 
the moderators didn't try to quell conflicts by 
offering a hasty compromise or by cutting the 
combatants off, I knew I was in a foreign country. 

Whether the attack-and-defend mode is the 
best way to communicate strongly held ideas 
about politics and art is another question. I'd 
rather have heard a more respectful and sympa- 
thetic tone — the kind that lets you admit, at least 
to yourself, that you might have been wrong about 
something without having to conclude that you 
are therefore a complete idiot. But I was grateful, 
at least, for the seriousness with which film is 
treated at Mannheim, and for the lack of glitz. I 
met plenty of film programmers, critics, students, 
and directors there, but nary a star. 

In part that's because this festival is hospitable 
to first films, short films, and documentaries, 
which generally rank low on the glamor scale. It 
also schedules works by directors who haven't 
made a name outside of their homeland. Many of 
the works were noteworthy, less for their style 
than for their timely themes. For example, Horkd 
kase (A Hot Problem), a Czech fiction feature by 



Raderan Urban, is a sympathetic look at alienated 
youth in an ugly high-rise commuter town. The 
blame for gang rapes and other violent crimes by 
teenagers is laid at the door of adults, including 
school administrators, who fail to respond with 
understanding to the kids around them. There's 
no happy ending to gloss over the problem, and 
the film's heavy metal music is toned down a bit 
only to make Josef Novotny's poignant lyrics 
more accessible to older viewers raised on Elvis. 
By pointing out that Czech television is censored 
and boring, the film reveals that Czech movie di- 
rectors have had somewhat more freedom in re- 
cent years. 

The Mannheim prize-winners, however, tended 
to be more artistically experimental in nature. 
One feature-length prize-winner, Die Toten Fis- 
che {The Mortal Fortune), the first film of Aus- 
trian Michael Synek, combines surrealism and 
Kafka: like the Soviet Georgian director Aleksandr 
Rekhviashvili (a previous Mannheim prize-win- 
ner), Synek uses beautiful black and white pho- 
tography to build an absurd, cruel, and imprison- 
ing world. Twilight City, by Reece Auguiste of the 
Black Audio Film Collective, which won a num- 
ber of awards, mixes fictional, documentary, and 
dance elements to present London as seen by its 



inhabitants of color. I found the interviews the 
most compelling part of this 52-minute film: ar- 
ticulate men and women describe how they move 
in parts of the city where they feel uncomfortable 
or unwanted and how real estate development in 
Thatcher's England is recreating Dickens' Lon- 
don. It's rare to read someone else's psychologi- 
cal map of a place, to experience space from 
anothercultural perspective, and this film achieves 
that goal. 

Although much smaller than Berlin, the Mann- 
heim festival is growing. It received 25 percent 
more entries and hosted 30 percent more journal- 
ists from all over the globe in 1989 than in the 
preceding year. And the nearly 29,000 visitors 
strained the capacity of the multiplex cinema in 
which most screenings were held. You had to 
arrive in the theater early to be assured of a seat, 
and people often had to stand, two deep, in the 
aisles. (The festival is considering finding another 
location in Mannheim.) Fortunately, this growth 
coincides with increased government support. I 
wish I could say that our states were competing on 
the German model for who would be known as 
"the film state." 

Strange as it may sound, there may be too many 
film festivals in West Germany. There doesn't 




At the Mannheim International Film Week one can see poetic documentaries from 
the German Democratic Republic, such as Eduard Schreiber's Traces [Spuren), about 
a German Jew who managed to escape the Holocaust and now lives in West Berlin. 

Photo: Regine Kuhn 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



I was grateful, at least, for the seriousness with which 
film is (reared at Mannheim — and for the lack of glitz. I 
met plenty of film programmers , critics, students, and 
directors there, but nary a star. 



seem to be enough good short films and videos to 
warrant an annual European Media Art Festival in 
the town of Osnabriick. for example. Program- 
mers who came from various European countries 
grumbled to each other about the overall quality of 
the entries, and the jury awarded no film or video 
a prize this \ear. The focus of the festival is the 
year's production from West Germany's experi- 
mental media artists, but many of them seem to be 
churning out a short film or tape per year and not 
allowing themselves the time or freedom to de- 
velop new ideas. Since it began in 1981. the 
Osnabriick festival has grow n in length and scope, 
but have the artists grow n v. ith it? 

Some variety was provided by guest programs 
from the U.S. (organized by Juergen Bruening of 
Hallwalls and Steve Gallagher of the New York 
Foundation for the Arts). Poland, and Switzer- 
land. I was especially pleased at the opportunity to 
see an edition of Infermental. the video magazine 
that is always curated by a collective in a different 



country. For the latest edition, curated in Vienna, 
45 short works from 15 countries were chosen 
(many transferred from film), yielding five hours 
of tape. The Osnabriick festival could pare itself 
down, if not to five hours, then to less than its 
present three plus days (from the evening of 
September 7 through the afternoon of September 
10) through more judicious curating. Such value 
judgments were made by the audience — and quite 
obviously; attendance was not good at many 
screenings. 

One problem with the programming was that 
similar films were screened together — a group of 
flicker films fatigues the eyes as much as constant 
emotionalism wears on the nerves. Why schedule 
Dore O.'s Blindmari s Ball, with its often-evoca- 
tive sensuousness, together with lesser works 
which aspire to the same dreamy lyricism? Nei- 
ther gains by the juxtaposition. When curators 
espy trends, perhaps they should write about them 
in the catalogue instead. 



One hallmark of postmodern film is its decon- 
struction of found footage. And this was evidently 
the organizing principle behind another cluster of 
films at Osnabriick. Here 1 had my best moments 
in the dark. In Dcinkc Schoen (C'mon Babe), by 
Sharon Sandusky, an American who studied w ith 
Peter Kubelka in Frankfurt, an educational film 
about lemmings is manipulated until it says some- 
thing about human history and our possible fu- 
ture. You slowly realize that the reassuring narra- 
tor had not grasped the import of lines like, "There 
remains a small handful that did not make this 
fatal journey, and in time new generations will 
take the place of those that have been lost." I saw 
this film twice and liked it even better the second 
time. Martin Arnold's Piece touchee uses optical 
printing techniques to bring out the hesitation and 
discomfort in a Hollywood B-movie couple head- 
ing towards a kiss. But this one good idea didn't 
need the 15 minutes the Austrian filmmaker gave 
it. In both works, estrangement is created through 
repetition, but Sandusky's soundtrack and archi- 
val footage are more varied. Even a short film may 
not be short enough — media artists need not show 
an audience everything they know or can do, after 
all. 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has 
appeared in Sight and Sound, the Boston Globe, 
International Documentary, In These Times, and 
elsewhere. 



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14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



The IRS Holds Firm on 



NO WAY OUT 

rements for Film/Videomakers 



MARTHA GEVER 



I 



f the IRS imposes a 
mandatory change in 
accounting methods — 
that is, an auditor 
determines that the 
taxpayer has been 
using an incorrect 
method to calculate 
deductions — they 
consider this a serious 
infringement of their 
revenue procedures 
and will impose fraud 
and negligence 
penalties. 



[Author's note: This article is presented only for 
the purposes of educating independent film- and 
videomakers and is not to be taken as financial or 
legal advice. Previous articles in The Indepen- 
dent have covered some of the material dealt with 
here, and readers may want to refer to them: 
"Breaking the Code: The Impact of the New Tax 
Laws," in the March 1988 issue, and "Tax Alert: 
New IRS Rules Mandate Amended 1987 Returns," 
in November 1988.] 

.Last year at tax time, friends in Buffalo and 
Boston called to find out if there was any truth in 
the rumors that they needn't worry about the 
Uniform Capitalization provisions in the U.S. tax 
code enacted in 1986 — which entail elaborate 
accounting measures and mean lower deductions 
for most independent film/videomakers. Alas, 
the answer was and still is no. In fact, those who 
have not yet complied with the Unicap rules, as 
the Internal Revenue Service dubs them, may find 
themselves in a risky position, vulnerable to fines 
and other penalties. 

Those who have been following the develop- 
ments concerning the application of Unicap 
rules — otherwise known as section 263A of the 
tax code — will recall that organizations repre- 
senting artists from a variety of disciplines, in- 
cluding the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers, attempted to obtain exemptions 
for freelancers [see "Artists Act to Reform Tax 
Reform Act," March 1988, and "Tax Incentives: 
Congress to Consider Exemptions for Freelance 
Artists," July 1988]. This coalition achieved a 
partial victory in 1988, securing exemptions for 
freelance writers and artists but not for film/ 
videomakers. Congress spelled out this exception 
in explicit language, thereby leaving no ambigu- 
ity concerning its intention to hold film/video- 
makers to the requirements of 263A. Prior to 
passage of this amendment, however, some relief 
from the burden of compliance with 263A was 
granted by the IRS in the form of its Notice 88-62, 
also known as the Safe Harbor election. With the 
deadline for filing 1989 tax returns around the 
corner, film/videomakers should consider their 
options — Unicap or Safe Harbor — and be aware 
of several IRS regulations that govern compli- 
ance with either method. 

According to Ellen McElroy, an attorney at 
the IRS, under 263A "intangible property be- 
comes tangible property." In other words, intel- 
lectual and creative works, previously regarded 



as intangible, as of the 1 987 tax year were consid- 
ered as property akin to manufactured goods. The 
code lists such recategorized property, including 
films and videotapes. As a result of this redefini- 
tion, the creators of intellectual property became 
subject to the tax laws governing manufacturers. 

Under previous tax laws, film/videomakers, as 
well as other artists, were allowed to deduct busi- 
ness overhead expenses incurred during a particu- 
lar year from income earned that year. The Unicap 
provisions in the tax code now require that ex- 
penses related to artistic production must be as- 
signed to specific projects and can be deducted 
only from income derived from those projects. 
The only exceptions are expenses related to ad- 
vertising, marketing, and distribution. Office or 
studio rent, telephone costs, and similar expenses 
entailed with work on an uncompleted film, for 
instance, can only be deducted when that film is 
"sold," i.e., produces income. And all such ex- 
penses must be assigned to discrete projects. 

Section 263A also affects the bookkeeping 
procedures used by film/videomakers by requir- 
ing implementation of an accrual method of ac- 
counting, as opposed to a cash system. Using an 
accrual system, the taxpayer must report expenses 
and income when billed, not when paid or re- 
ceived. One advantage of accrual accounting is 
that it allows for uncollectible debts. The disad- 
vantage is that most independent film/videomakers 
did not employ this method in the past, and the IRS 
requires consent from its Commissioner before 
the change can be made. 

A further requirement imposed by the Unicap 
rules concerns inventory — the stock of a film/ 
videomaker's completed productions still gener- 
ating income as well as projects underway. When 
the law went into effect, the IRS required a revalu- 
ation of inventory, adding the indirect costs to the 
direct costs of works that are still being deducted. 
The agency allowed that adjustments could be 
spread over four years if the revaluation occurred 
in the context of filing under 263A. However, if 
such a revaluation was not voluntarily undertaken 
or done only following a request for a change in 
accounting methods, the entire adjustment must 
be made in one year. 

The Safe Harbor option is an election made 
under 263 A which allows independent film/video- 
makers to adopt a somewhat simplified account- 
ing methods for capitalizing costs. The IRS's 
Notice 88-62, issued in May 1 988, allows freelance 
artists to "aggregate and capitalize" their business 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



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expenses — indirect as well as direct costs — for a 
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from income earned in that year and 25 percent in 
each of the next two years. The IRS requires that 
the Safe Harbor election be declared by typing or 
writing legibly "Safe Harbor Election per IR 
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must be approved before April 30 of this year. 
Application is made by filing Form 3 1 15, entitled 
"Change in Accounting Method," which is avail- 
able at local IRS offices. A $200 fee is charged for 
such changes. Film/videomakers filing a Sched- 
ule C for the first time occupy a more advanta- 
geous position. In this case, the Safe Harbor 
method may be elected when preparing the 1989 
return, although consultation with an accountant 
who is familiar with the requirements of 263A is 
strongly recommended. 

McElroy says that all film/videomakers must 
comply with 263A. If these procedures seem 
complicated and expensive, consider the alterna- 
tives. If the IRS imposes a mandatory change in 
accounting methods — that is, an auditor deter- 
mines that the taxpayer has been using an incor- 
rect method to calculate deductions — they con- 
sider this a serious infringement of their revenue 
procedures and will impose fraud and negligence 
penalties. In addition, compliance with 263A will 
be enforced retroactively, possibly necessitating 
changes from cash to accrual accounting systems 
and a revaluation of inventory for 1987, '88, and 
'89 — which would easily result in a much bigger 
tax bill. Contemplating this scenario, accountant 
Susan Lee counsels, "If you take all your expenses 
now, when you're not entitled to under 263A, you 
may get more money up front. If you get caught 
doing what's not correct, however, you may spend 
many years paying your debt." 

Last year, many independent film- and video- 
makers appeared to believe that the choice be- 
tween compliance with the arcane and onerous 
Unicap rules or future fines and penalities was an 
unduly conservative interpretation of IRS rules. If 
anything, however, the IRS's position is now 
unambiguous, and no amount of wishful thinking 
will make it go away. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



WHAT THE 

Dis 



IN FOCU 



■ . 



NUAL DIDN 




T TELL YOU 

eys 



RICK FEIST 



This article is fourth in a series, written by staff 
members of the Standby Program, a nonprofit 
video access and education program dedicated to 
providing artists and independent producers with 
sophisticated video services they can afford. 
Standby's technicians are artists themselves and 
therefore offer vital understanding and sympa- 
thetic collaboration. Since 1983, works made 
possible by Standby have been broadcast on the 
Public Broadcasting Service, as well as European 
and Japanese television, and have been exhibited 
in museums and galleries worldwide. The infor- 
mation presented here and in future articles should 
help you make appropriate technical decisions to 
suit your aesthetic and budgetary needs. 

The first three chapters of this editing guide 
reviewed video recording formats, time code, and 
off-line editing. This article examines the uses of 
switchers and the special effects they make pos- 
sible in postproduction. 

C/LECTRONIC RECORDING TECHNOLOGIES WERE 

originally developed for the direct reproduction 
of image and sound. In time, added capabilities for 
manipulating and controlling the recording proc- 
ess influenced the design of video works. Eventu- 
ally, it became possible to generate the sound and 
image material itself by means of the electronic 
tools of the recording system. 

Consider the evolution of processes used to 
record musical sound. At first, a live performance 
was simply recorded. Then, the means to edit and 
overdub in order to correct mistakes 
became available. The advent of multi- 
track recorders and mixing consoles 
led to studio production, track by track, 
instrument by instrument. Now, with 
the synthesizer, the sounds of the per- 
formance can originate in the record- 
ing machinery. 

Similarly, microprocessors and 
digital storage allowed the emergence 
of a plastic and graphic form of video 
montage, with the simultaneous lay- 
ering of multiple images. The era of 
the flying box was upon us. Twenty- 
five years earlier video could not be 
edited. Now postproduction and 
computer graphics can produce count- 
less image and sound manipulations, 



which wait in ambush for the unsuspecting pro- 
ducer. 

The potentials all converge in one instrument. 
In England it is called a picture mixer. In the U.S. 
it used to be called the special effects generator, or 
SEG for short. Now, it's usually called the 
switcher. The switcher is the mixing console of 
video, allowing different video images to be 
combined with each other. A larger switcher, 
such as the Grass Valley 300, accepts as many as 
24 different signals, with images selectable from 
VTRs, character generators, digital effects de- 
vices, video black, and color bars. 

The traditional role of the switcher was to 
make transitions between images. Increasingly 
switchers are used to layer (mix) a number of 
different video sources into a new composite 
image. Yet there are only three specific ways that 
switchers combine imagery. 

In a dissolve, the first image disappears as the 
second image appears. Unlike film, where the rate 
of transition is fixed at certain increments ( 1 2, 24, 
48, 96 frames, etc.), the video dissolve can be 
timed at any rate from one to 999 frames — and 
longer if necessary. Dissolves can be done by 
hand simply by moving a lever. A dissolve that 
completes a transition to the next image is some- 
times called a cross-dissolve, to distinguish it 
from a partial dissolve, which leaves two images 
mixed. A fade is a dissolve to or from black. A 
nonadditive mix (NAM) is a dissolve that empha- 
sizes the brighter parts of each of the images 
during the transition. 

Wipe patterns are like cookie cutters, geo- 
metric shapes with one image inside, another 



Figure 1 



ilQDB 



D 
D 



BEDS 
MHQM 



outside. As the form grows larger or crosses the 
screen, a transition is made from the image out- 
side the wipe pattern to the image inside the 
pattern. The basic geometric shapes can be modi- 
fied by modulation or rotation. Modulating a wipe 
causes its edges to be bent by a sine or square 
wave, curving a straight line. Rotating a wipe 
pattern allows it to assume any diagonal position; 
e.g., a rotated rectangle becomes a diamond shape. 
Wipes can be bordered with a color or made soft 
so that the edges of the two images blend at the 
boundaries of the wipe. 

A. key functions like a stencil. One image — 
the foreground — is selectively superimposed over 
another — the background. The shape of the key is 
determined by either the color or brightness level 
of the keying signal, cutting a pattern in the 
background through which the foreground ap- 
pears. 

A key triggered by color is a chroma key. 
Since the color most used for such keying is blue, 
the process is also called "blue screen." Chroma 
key demands a lot of lighting, flat and backlit, to 
fill in stray blue reflections that will otherwise let 
the background bleed through. 

Although chroma keys are proverbial, such 
keys are not too common in postproduction. The 
reason for this is that the color signal recorded on 
videotape has a very limited bandwidth, i.e. poor 
resolution. When a chroma key is made using a 
taped image, it is prone to produce jagged edges. 
This is even true of broadcast formats such as one- 
inch and Betacam. Three-quarter-inch and home 
formats are worse. For this reason, chroma keys 
are generally done live, using a 
camera's RGB output directly. 

Luminance keys are triggered by 
the bright, or dark, parts of a video 
signal. Wherever the key signal is 
bright, the foreground image appears. 
Wherever the key signal is dark, the 
background appears. Since the lumi- 
nance (black and white) component 
of the video signal has a greater band- 
width than the color component, 
luminance keys are sharper, and their 
edges are more distinct than those 
produced by a chroma key. 

There are several ways to accom- 
plish a luminance key. There is the so- 
called self-key (see figure 2, diagram 
1), where the key signal (the video 




MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



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Figure 2 



Diagram 1 • Self-Key 




BACKGROUND 





FOREGROUND 



Diagram 2 • Key with Hi-Con matte 




OR 




FILL VIDEO 




■ 


m 



KEY SIGNAL 



that cuts the hole — the stencil) is the same as the 
fill signal (the video that fills in where the hole is 
cut). Consider a landscape keyed over a back- 
ground with a self-key. Wherever the sky is bright, 
the key succeeds. Wherever it is dark (e.g., where 
storm clouds appear), the background bleeds 
through. 

The clip of a key determines where along the 
grey scale the key begins to cut through, from 
bright white to video black. The gain of a key is 
the sharpness of the cut, which can be softened to 
blend over a brightness range. However, even the 
sharpest (full gain) key requires a significant dif- 
ference in brightness level. Shooting video against 
a "super black" background is not enough to allow 
separation by keying. 

Cleaner keys use three separate signals: the 
background, the foreground (key-fill), and the 
key signal (hole cutter). The key signal is a white 
on black high-contrast image that creates the hole 
in which the foreground signal appears. Wipes are 
actually keys based upon a choice of geometric 
shapes that cut the hole for one image to be super- 
imposed upon another. 

Character generators and digital video effects 
(DVE) devices all generate a separate key signal, 
so that the key does not depend upon the fore- 
ground image brightness. A character generator's 
key signal will be the letters in white on black; the 
key-fill is the same characters, which may then be 
any color or mixture of colors, even black. A 
digital effects device generates a frame-shaped 
key signal that runs in parallel with its manipula- 
tion of the imagery. The infamous flying box runs 
in tandem with a black and white double, match- 
ing every change of size, position, and shape. 

/\ MORE ELABORATE METHOD FOR KEYING MOV- 

ing images functions like a travelling matte used 
in film optical printing. A foreground source tape 
has movement or animation. On another tape the 
same movement with a white on black key signal. 



or matte, that travels parallel with the foreground 
source is recorded. The movement of the key 
signal will allow a continuous key of the move- 
ment of the foreground source. A studio chroma- 
key situation that must be combined ("married") 
in postproduction will utilize a device known as 
the Ultimatte, which will generate a black and 
white matte or hi-con (high-contrast) signal that is 
recorded on a second VTR. This hi-con signal 
allows the keying to be done by the crisper lumi- 
nance key in postproduction. 

A matte frame for a key signal can also be 
drawn on a paint box and output alongside the 
picture. For moving images, each single frame 
may have to be traced by hand to create a trav- 
elling matte. This expensive and time-consuming 
practice is known as rotoscoping and is used 
primarily for large-budget commercials. 

Certain digital effects devices allow the crea- 
tion of travelling mattes if the movement is cre- 
ated by the effects device. In the ADO effects 
device this is known as Digimatte. The device 
moves the object in figure 2. diagram 2 across the 
screen. If the key signal also feeds the device, it 
moves in parallel with the fill image. 

Switchers used in postproduction facilities 
permit a number of dissolves, wipes, and/or keys 
to be made simultaneously. The priority (which 
image is on top) can be selected as needed. A title 
can be keyed over an image that dissolves into 
another. Both image and title may dissolve en- 
tirely to the new image or the image can dissolve 
to the new image while the title remains superim- 
posed. An analogy is a river fed by numerous 
tributaries. Sources feeding the river upstream are 
overlaid by those originating downstream — until 
everything washes out to sea. 

Rick Feist is an on-line editor and a member of the 
Standby Program. 

© 1990 The Standby Program 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



TALKING HEADS 



TWENTY YEARS ON ICE 



Michael Roem< 



If Against Harry 



ROB EDELMAN 



Harry Plotnik (center right), a small-time 
Jewish numbers racketeer just out of 
prison, had what it takes to charm critics 
and audiences at the 1 989 debut— 20 
years after production — of The Plot 
Against Harry, by Michael Roemer. 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



There's power in positive thinking. Never say die. 
Don't give up the ship. If at first you don't suc- 
ceed, try, try again. 

All of the above are cliches, to be sure, but these 
messages are worth considering if you're an inde- 
pendent filmmaker struggling to find an audience. 

Take Michael Roemer and The Plot Against 
Harry. Roemer, whose films include Nothing But 
a Man, Cortile Cascino, and Dying, made Plot 
over 20 years ago. For two decades it remained 
unseen, a forgotten credit on his filmography. It 




was only in 1 989 that Roemer decided to complete 
the film's postproduction and submit it to the 
Toronto and New York Film Festivals. 

The result: smash screenings at both, reviews 
that could not have been kinder, and a distribution 
deal with New Yorker Films — culminating in a 
January 1990 theatrical release. 

The genesis of The Plot Against Harry, a char- 
acter study of an aging, small-time Jewish racke- 
teer, goes back to 1965. After the acclaim of 
Nothing But a Man, one of the first U.S. films to 
depict African Americans in a society that is 
separate from whites and tarnished by racism, 
Roemer was courted by several Hollywood stu- 
dios. One of the films he was asked to direct was 
Goodbye, Columbus, set in the same milieu as 
Plot. However, he and his partner Robert Young 
were determined to remain in New York and 
maintain their independence. 



Enter King Broadcasting, a Seattle-based con- 
glomerate which had just established a screen 
division. Stimson Bullitt, "the man who ran the 
organization," Roemer recalls, "liked our work. 
Late one afternoon he wandered into our office. It 
was a rat hole, and we were embarrassed. But he 
was the kind of person who actually respected that 
we didn't have a fancy office. He kind of figured 
that all the money he'd give us would end up on 
the screen." 

The Plot Against Harry was completely fi- 
nanced by King Broadcasting. "Their screen divi- 
sion has since disappeared," Roemer says, "as so 
many film enterprises do. Perhaps if we'd have 
released the film, this wouldn't have happened. 
But, fortunately, King Broadcasting is healthy 
and still in business." 

Filming began in March 1968 at sites through- 
out the New York area and with the assistance of 
Mayor John Lindsay's newly established Office 
of Film and Television. After a lengthy editing 
process, Roemer explains, "About 70 people saw 
the film, and 69 didn't know what to make of it. 
You must remember this was 1 969 and 1 970, and 
it was the wrong time for this film. It's ambiguous, 
sort of uncommitted and unempathetic in its own 
peculiar way. It moved in a way that people 
couldn't follow. Today that doesn't seem to be a 
problem. 

"But back then, I wasn't so sure that they were 
wrong. I'm a terrible salesperson. If someone says 
that I've made a good movie, I'll say that I've 
made a good movie. If someone says I've made a 
terrible one, I'll tend to agree. So I was willing to 
concede that I'd made the wrong movie." 

Despite the support of King Broadcasting, Plot 
was still a low-budget, independently made fea- 
ture. "It was an enormously difficult film to shoot 
because there are lots of locations, speaking parts, 
and extras," says Roemer. "It took me months just 
to assemble the cast. During the shooting, I didn't 
have an assistant director or a script girl. Bob (who 
photographed the film) had only one other person 
on the camera. We had three electricians, two 
people on sound, three in production. It was a 
skeleton crew." 

When he was finished, Roemer admits that he 
"couldn't take the rough and tumble of getting the 
film distributed." With the assistance of former 
New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, a screen- 
ing was arranged for Columbia Pictures executive 
Stan Schneider. But the film was rejected. "King 
Broadcasting didn't know what to do with it," 



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Roemer explains, "so they decided to write it off. 
In fairness, though, I have to attribute most all of 
this to a failure of nerve on my part. 

"I went into a heavy period after making this 
film. I'm sure it had to do with the tremendous 
sense of failure that came after the film. Failure is 
an extraordinary experience. It hurts, but it's not 
that bad for you." 

For 20 years, The Plot Against Harry remained 
in mothballs. Early in 1989. Roemer had some 
extra money and. as he explains, "I decided to put 
the film on tape so my kids could see it. I didn't 
actually expect to release it. But I looked at it. and 
sort of liked what I saw. I said. 'Hey, this isn't as 
bad as I remember. '" 

Still, Roemer thought the film could use some 
improvement. "I decided I'd tear apart what I 
thought was a terrible mix." he says. "Then. I 
made two 35mm prints, which I sent to the New 
York and Toronto festivals. I saw this as a long 
shot, you know. To my great surprise, both ac- 
cepted it." 

Roemer's central character is Harry Plotnik. a 
hustler with an unmistakable New : York demeanor 
who has just completed a short prison stretch. 
Harry may be a master con artist, but he's in the 
twilight of his years, and his breed is rapidly 
becoming extinct. Harlem, for decades his turf, is 
a changed neighborhood. Whatever power or 
influence he once w ielded there is now lost. Most 
tellingly. Harry is estranged from his wife and the 
daughters he's never known. Then one day, after 
a freak traffic mishap, he finds himself back in 
their lives. 

Roemer is reluctant to discuss the dynamics of 
his film or his motivations for making it. "Most 
films are private affairs." he says. But he does 
concede that Harry "isn't even an anti-hero. He's 
no hero at all. Plus, the middle class[people] in the 
film are no better than he is." 

This point of view manifests itself in Roemer's 
fascination with rituals and ceremonies, which are 
a key element of his scenario. Much of the action 
unfolds at weddings and bar mitzvahs, which are 
subtly juxtaposed with fashion shows, telethons, 
and dog obedience classes. Ultimately, Roemer's 



Horry accidentally 
crashes into the car of 
his ex-wife, thereby 
meeting the daughter 
he hadn't seen in 20 
years and her family. 
Director Roemer had 
forgotten how funny 
he originally 
considered his film 
until watching it again 
after making a film-to- 
tape transfer for his 
kids' entertainment. 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 



revelers are merely on parade, on display to im- 
press each other. They can only express love or 
affection by opening up checkbooks. "The whole 
story revolves around cash," Roemer admits. "I 
don't talk about this directly, this relationship 
between people and cash. But it's very clearly 
there. 

"I'm no radical," he adds. "I'm not critical of 
this relationship. I just think it's funny, and I 
wanted to show the humor that underlies [the 
characters'] behavior and value system." 

The belated success of Plot should be no sur- 
prise to Roemer. because he's made a film that 
deserves the kudos it has earned and clearly has a 
place on the market. The Toronto Film Festival 
screening resulted in a rave notice in Variety, 
which dubbed the film "hilarious and poignant" 
and predicted that "w ith proper handling it could 
be an arthouse fave." The all-important New York 
critics also touted it. J. Hoberman wrote in the 
Village Voice that the film "exudes a distinctively 
wistful vulgarity. It's also very funny." Janet 
Maslin observed that it is "funny and sharply 
drawn.... Harry Plotnik has been kept under wraps 
for 20 years, but he is none the worse for wear." 
David Denby added that it is "consistently witty 
and enjoyable, a labor of love that should find its 
own loving audience." 

"I think some [distributors] had an interest in 
the film after its showing in Toronto," Roemer 
modestly observed after its New York Film Fes- 
tival play. Dan Talbot of New Yorker Films was 
one of those who did. He purchased the film's 
theatrical, nontheatrical, and video rights for the 
United States and Canada. 

Some may call Roemer lucky, but his luck is of 
his own making. If The Plot Against Harry was 
indeed a failure, all attempts to hype and sell it 
would be for nought. But if Roemer had not 
attempted to get the film seen — even after all 
these years — there would have been no ovations 
at film festivals or distribution deals. 

Rob Edelman is director of programming of the 
Home Film Festival and associate editor of 
Leonard Maltin's TV Movies and Video Guide. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 





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MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



Hollywood Film Stills 




Orchestra recording the soundtrack for The 
Sea Hawk (1940). The composer worked 
with the producer and orchestra to give a 
film the right mood. 

Alt photos courtesy International Museum of Photography, 
George Easlmon House 



JAN-CHRISTOPHER HORAK 



Ihe history of Hollywood as formulated by the US mass media has 
created its own mythology, a mythology of film stars and directors of genius, 
of movie moguls, cinematic masterpieces and monumental flops, of MGM 
lions and Disney ducks. Mass produced popular literature on the history of 
the U.S. film industry has often been nothing more than a public relations 
discourse, reproducing Hollywood's own story, calculated to market screen 
personalities, films, and television shows, invariably catering to the nostal- 
gic desires of its audience, generating an endless array of easily consumable 
narratives which communicate "history" as another form of entertainment. ' 
As early as the 1940s a critic of the film industry could write: 

The press happily publish studio handouts, movie gossip columns, reviews of the 
latest films and paid advertisements. A startling number of magazines are devoted to 
the lives and loves of the stars. News of the latest Hollywood coiffure is brought to 
the housewife over the airwaves. 2 

In this light, the recovery of film masterpieces today, preservation of 
studio artifacts, and mass market publishers' construction of Hollywood 
history are indivisibly linked to the creation of audience desire — to the 
commercial marketing strategies for the sale of entertainment services and 
goods to a consuming public of "classic Hollywood films" on videotape. 
Likewise, the archeology of U.S. film history, as practiced by publishers and 
film companies "preserving" national treasures and even some of our most 
important national museums, recovers Dorothy's shoes or Sam's piano 



from Rick's Cafe Americaine — and defines 
these artifacts — as relics of rarefied value, 
reproducing rather than analyzing Holly- 
wood's own discourse. 

While many academic film historians have 
attempted a more serious discussion of Ameri- 
can film culture, they too have often limited 
themselves to a history of film aesthetics and 
a hagiography of film artists, defining film 
movements, actors, and directors as creative 
forces. They have grounded their critical prac- 
tice in the standard methodologies of literary 
criticism and art history. This approach, while 
valuable when dealing with strong artistic 
personalities, overvalues the contributions of 
individual filmmakers while underestimating 
the power of the institutions of cinema, the processes by which film 
technology and economic structures interface to create social discourses on 
film. 

Furthermore, the discursive practice of traditional film histories often 
reproduces the judgements of early texts which established the canon of film 
history. As Robert C. Allen has stated, in reference to Ramseye's "classic" 
history of silent film: 

Not only have Ramseye's facts been passed down (most unquestioningly) from 
historian to historian, but their inclusions and exclusions, emphases and interpretations 
have helped to set the discursive parameters for all American film historians who 
wrote after him.' 

It has only been in the last 1 years that a new generation of academic film 
historians has torn away the mythologies of Hollywood's discourse to un- 
cover the presuppositions and strategies governing the production, distribu- 
tion, and exhibition of film in the United States. Tediously searching out 
primary resource material in the often dusty recesses of film archives, rather 
than relying on established canons of thought, these historians have begun 
to analyze and explicate U.S. film practice by drawing on film company 
documents, financial and production records, original film scripts, interof- 
fice memos, film publicity materials, industry trade periodicals, legal files, 
distribution records, ethnic newspapers, audience analyses, and other 
paraphernalia. They have thus begun to deconstruct Hollywood's mythol- 
ogy, in order to formulate a history which relates the symbiotic relationships 
between film technologies and industrial relations, marketing and advertis- 
ing, filmmakers' intentions and audience reception. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



Historical Documents 



Such a history begins to define not only the way in which our present 
media system has evolved, but also explains the degree to which ordinary 
lives in the United States are permeated by mass media-produced desires. 
Unfortunately in today's world of publish-as-fast-as-you-can graduate 
students, few are willing to spend the necessary time in film archives, 
relying instead on a legitimizing quote from Lacan or Derrida to back up 
their historical claims. 



O, 



'NE OF THE CENTRAL IRONIES OF THE US FILM INDUSTRY IS THAT FILM 

production is both highly organized and ritualistic. While dependent on the 
exact coordination of literally thousands of people and the amassing of vast 
financial resources, the economic success or failure of a film is believed to 
be a matter of secret formulas, of luck smiling, of timing, talent, and guts. 

In its classical phase from the 1920s to the 1950s, Hollywood was a 
monolithic economic system, a multinational monopoly of corporations, 
whose structure of film production, distribution, and exhibition was based 
on laws of scientific management, an intense division of labor, the pioneer- 
ing use of modern advertising techniques, and complete control of the 
market. Everything possible was done to minimize risk and maximize 
profits. Yet, success was always thought of in magical terms. The moguls 
of the motion picture business never tired of propagating their own Horatio 
Alger myths of rising from the immigrant slums of the Lower East Side to 
the plush offices of Sunset Boulevard. In their press releases they never 
seemed to be at a loss to explain why a given film could make a fortune, 
while other, equally well-produced films lost millions. But, in fact, they 
seldom knew, except to say they had the right "touch." 

Naturally, as the captains of America's largest leisure industry, film 
producers were neither interested in exposing their own ruthless business 
practices nor were they willing to undermine the social and economic status 
quo, despite their working-class backgrounds. 4 In this context, their magi- 
cal mumbo jumbo about the workings of the film industry can be seen as a 
strategy common to U.S. management: 

The mystification of the production process, the separation of people (both as 
producers and consumers) from an understanding of this process, may be seen 
emerging early in the twentieth century.... In the productive process itself, one of the 
characteristics of "scientific management" beyond and perhaps more important than 
its efficiency, is its separation of the work process from an understanding of what is 
being made. 5 

Hollywood's discourse always supported a romantic mythology, be- 
cause the very commodity this industry produced was fantasy and fictional 
narratives. Film images sought to transport an audience from the real world 
into a universe of myth, where audience desires could find at least partial 
satisfaction. Long before economists thought in such terms, the film 
industry offered U.S. consumers a service, leisure activity, rather than an 
industrial commodity, and thus foreshadowed the postindustrial, service 
economy of the late twentieth century. 

Another irony of Hollywood film production is that while the publicity 
agents of the dream merchants did their best to present the process of film 
production as something magical, as a matter of secret codes and immense 
quantities of money and energy, of great movie stars working in harmony 
with brilliant directors, those same publicity agents documented in minute 
detail every phase of production and exploitation. The film stills depart- 



ments of the major studios had a photographer on the set of every film, who 
was responsible for taking stills of the action in front of and behind the 
camera, in the dressing rooms of the stars, and on the studio lots. Once a film 
reached the theaters, photographers were on hand to document premieres, 
publicity stunts, public appearances of the stars, parades, media events, in 
short the total sum of a film's exploitation. All these images served as 
possible illustrations for news stories, magazine articles, gossip columns, 
posters, press books and other forms of advertising. 

The master stills books might under some circumstances contain as many 
as two or three thousand individual images per film. These include: 

1 . Shots in front of the camera, which recreated but did not reproduce 
scenes from the film. Such images can be used to reconstruct scenes later 
cut from a film. 

2. Images taken during all phases of preproduction, production, and post- 
production. 

3. Portraits (in close-up and long shot) of all the major and sometimes 
minor characters in make-up. 




License agreements were especially popular for 
Warner Brothers' stable of "toon" stars, including 
the ever-popular Bugs and Porky, and provided 
substantial income to the studios. 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



Left: The Warner Theater in Hollywood featured this impressive staff of 48 
uniformed ushers. The cinema was a place of luxury, where the masses could 

pretend to enjoy the privileges of wealth. 

Below: Close-ups of car chases were usually shot in the studio with rear 
projection, since this was cheaper than location shooting. 




4. Reproductions of set designs, costume designs, and other preproduction 
material. 

5. Documentation of all publicity stunts organized before and after a film 
release, including personal appearances, parades, whistle-stop train 
tours. 

6. Reproductions of all publicity materials, including posters, theater lobby 
displays, billboards, handouts. 

7. Scenes from a film's premier, theater marquees, other premier events. 

8. Records of all product tie-ins, shop window displays, novel tie-in book 
covers, consumer product advertising. 

Thus, while the master still books of the film companies originally 
generated newspaper and magazine publicity for a film and ultimately 
increased box office sales, they now constitute visual records of Holly wood 
film production, distribution, and exhibition. Reading these publicity im- 
ages "against the grain" as historical documents, these photographs allow 
us not only to reconstruct the dream machine and the myths it attempted to 
produce, but also to get a glimpse of the actual structure of the classical 
Hollywood studio system. 

The Wamer Brothers Film Stills Collection at the International Museum 
of Photography at George Eastman House (IMP/GEH) is a virtually com- 
plete record of that studio's film production and exploitation between the 
years 1 925 and 1 952. In the mid- 1 950s Warner Brothers sold all its pre- 1 948 
films to United Artists. Shortly thereafter, in 1 958, they donated their master 
still books to IMP/GEH. These historical documents in the Warner Brothers 
Film Stills Collection represent the inner workings of a Hollywood film 
company during its classical phase, when the cinema was truly a mass 
media, rather than one of several entertainment options. Warner Brothers 
can thus be considered a paradigm for the Hollywood studio system as a 
whole, giving valuable insight into the structure of the U.S. film industry in 
its classical phase. 

Through photographic images, every phase of film production, from 
writing scripts to designing sets and costumes, from the actual shooting in 
the studio and on location to the postproduction phase involving the editing 



and creation of special effects and musical tracks, was visualized. Further- 
more, these images illustrate the work of the company's distribution and 
exhibition departments: its publicity machine, which included advertising 
campaigns, press books, fan magazine links, the organization of personal 
appearances, gala premieres, publicity stunts, and product tie-ins. The still 
books allow us to visualize the Hollywood factory system and recover the 
most public sphere of film culture, giving readers not only insights into the 
past, but also allowing them to understand those structures and processes 
which tend to define our present-day society as a product of "entertainment 
tonight." 



Notes 

1. The Smithsonian exhibition and catalogue for "Hollywood: Legend and Reality" 
is one of the most recent examples of this trend, its modern portion a virtual 
advertisement for Lucasfilm, Ltd. See Michael Webb, ed., Hollywood: Legend and 
Reality (Boston: New York Graphic Society Book, Little, Brown and Co., 1986). 

2. Mae D. Huettig, Economic Control of the Motion Picture Industry: A Study in 
Industrial Organization (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1944), p. 1 . 

3. Robert C. Allen, "The Archeology of Film History," Wide Angle, Vol. 5, No. 2 
(1982), p. 5. 

4. According to some historians, the film industry was the fourth or fifth largest in the 
U.S.A. in the 1930s and 1940s, but as Douglas Gomery has shown, this was only a 
Hollywood fabrication. In 1937 the film industry placed forty-fifth in gross sales, far 
behind the auto and steel industries. Douglas Gomery, The Hollywood Studio System 
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986), pp. 6-7. 

5. Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the 
Consumer Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1977), p. 105. 

Jan-Christopher Horak is curator of film at the International Museum of 
Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and 
associate professor in film studies at the University of Rochester. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



IN PURSUIT OF THE PAST 

Film Detective Bengt von zur Muhlen's Guide to the World's Film Archives 



KAREN ROSENBERG 



Discovering interesting historical material in foreign film archives is a kind 
of detective work. And good sleuths since Holmes have needed a broad 
background in many fields in order to know which sources to turn to. Bengt 
von zur Miihlen, an Estonian economist and linguist who has lived in 
Poland, Canada, and the U.S., now residing in West Berlin, is such a sleuth. 
Von zur Miihlen both collects historical film material and produces films 
through his company Chronos-Film, which has commissioned over 250 
documentaries since its founding in 1961. 

Researchers for a film company or television station generally work on 
one subject at a time, but von zur Miihlen spends most of his time 
acquainting himself with archives all over the world. There he sometimes 
comes across original and unusual material for his company's future 
documentaries. He also sells historical footage from his collection. And, 
free of charge, he offers advice on a daily basis to film companies and 
directors who are working on a topic and want to know: Was the subject 
filmed? If so, was the film preserved? And if the material survives, is it 
accessible? 

Wars and invasions have destroyed the film collections of many coun- 
tries. "It's like books — not all copies survive," von zur Miihlen notes. "And 
since the print run of a book is generally much greater than the number of 
copies of a film, there is a greater likelihood that a book will be preserved 
than a film." Researchers often look into the archives of countries like 
Sweden or Switzerland, which were not bombed or occupied during the 
Second World War. Or they check the archives of the occupiers. For 
example, in 1950, the U.S. Army took all the film material from the film 
archive in P'yongyang to Washington. When von zur Miihlen decided to 
make a film on Korea, on the occasion of the 1988 
Olympic games, he had some of these films trans- 
ferred and offered them to the North Koreans. Kim 
Il-Sun was very pleased to get some material from 
1945, his first period of political activity, and gave 
von zur Miihlen and his wife, director Irmgard von 
zur Miihlen, permission to film in North Korea, 
which is extremely hard to obtain. 

Private archives may also yield worthwhile mate- 
rial. Von zur Miihlen found shots of Korea of the 
1 930s at a missionary archive in West Germany. This 
film was made to persuade church members to donate 
money for converting the Koreans. And since the 
Japanese destroyed all films from Korea in 1945 to 
prevent them from getting into U.S. hands, it was a 
lucky find. 



One of von zur Muhlen's 
specialties is Soviet and 
Eastern European archives 
which are difficult for most 
independents to use even 
now that glasnost has 
opened them to the West. 



When looking for documentary historical evidence on everyday life in 
China, which was generally not filmed, von zur Miihlen also turned to 
Christian missionary archives. Some churches have donated their historical 
film material to government institutions, like the National Archives in 
Washington, while others have film departments in their national headquar- 
ters. There are few individuals who collect original film documents, says 



Soviet filmmakers in me glasnost era are using 

historical material from their film archives, as in 

Sergei Miroshnichenko's documentary on the 

Stalin era, And the Past Seems But a Dream. 




MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



Filmmakers must ask for 
close-ups of leaders and 
intimate moments if they 
don } t want to receive 
endless long-range shots of 
a parade rostrum in reply 
to a request for footage of a 
given political figure . 



von zur Miihlen. Most collectors prefer features and other edited cinematic 
material, but some specialize in regions like the Baltic countries or in types 
of people, such as composers, and have documentary footage. "To conduct 
successful research, you have to be lucky and you have to know where to 
look," von zur Miihlen observes. 

One of his specialties is Soviet and Eastern European archives, which are 
difficult for most independents to use even now that glasnost has opened 
them to the West. First of all, these archives traditionally have maintained 
tight secrecy, issuing nothing written describing their holdings, and even 
today they have no catalogues. A filmmaker must make an educated guess 
about which archive might have some footage and then write a letter to the 
embassy or, in the case of the USSR, to the Novosti Press Agency, asking 
for information. The embassy should forward the letter to the appropriate 
ministries, which often means not just the Ministry of Culture but also the 
Ministry of the Interior, which controls the police. But it is often a problem 
to get government officials at various levels to fulfill a request before the 
filmmaker has completed the project. 

By establishing personal relationships with bureaucrats, von zur Miihlen 
has been able to motivate some in facilitating his inquiries. And he has 
worked out exchange agreements with some archives whereby he supplies 
them with film documents, film stock, VCRs, or television sets. In ex- 
change, he gets the historical footage he needs with no money changing 
hands. Sometimes a Moscow or Leningrad studio is involved. They may get 
sound equipment, for example, in exchange for paying the lab costs for the 
duplication of material in the USSR. Such exchanges take time and 
experience to arrange, von zur Miihlen notes. 

Only large production houses like the BBC or Thames Television can 
afford to send a researcher for weeks or months to a foreign archive to gather 
material for a series. Few filmmakers have the money or time to fly to the 
Soviet Union or Eastern Europe for footage. Getting a visa, advance hotel 
reservations, taxis, and food in Eastern Europe requires a great deal of effort, 
von zur Miihlen cautions. And once researchers gain access to an archive, 
more frustrations await them. The official archives in the USSR are not 
permitted to show negatives to anyone, and they often lack viewing prints. 
All inflammable nitrate material is being transferred to acetate, but progress 
is slow because of the cost. Usually, says von zur Miihlen, one views the 
material which everyone sees. Only archivists who know their own collec- 
tions, who are historically educated, and who want to make a certain film 
available will help a Westerner come away with an unusual find. 



Yet, occasionally a foreigner may come across some material that has not 
attracted attention in the USSR but would be of great interest in the West. 
At the Central Film Archive of the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow von 
zur Miihlen found two-and-a-half hours of a court trial against German 
officers involved in the massacre at Babi Yar. "After the Second World War, 
the Russians had no desire to show this material, because Babi Yar 
concerned the fate of Jews, not Russian partisans." von zur Miihlen com- 
ments. Although these were show trials, he finds the film material on how 
the men were accused, how they justified their crimes, and how they dealt 
with their guilt of historical significance. This footage will be edited and 
intercut with the testimony of eyewitnesses to the massacre in an upcoming 
Chronos-Film documentary. 

Another obstacle facing Westerners involved in film research is commu- 
nication with Soviet and Eastern European archivists. On one hand, these 
archivists generally don't know how to evaluate their own collections 
because they have never been to the West; they can't say what unique items 
they have because they lack a basis of comparison. Von zur Miihlen has 
helped some of them broaden their knowledge of archival standards by 
issuing them personal invitations to visit the West, but it will take a while 
before they overcome the insularity long imposed on them. 

On the other hand. Westerners often don ' t know how to decribe what they 
want to foreign archivists. For instance, filmmakers must ask for close-ups 
of leaders and intimate moments if they don't want to receive endless long- 
range shots of a parade rostrum in reply to a request for footage of a given 
political figure. Western filmmakers may also be disappointed to find that 
close-range shots are often very hard to get. "Stalin was very reluctant to 
have films made of him in the Kremlin, and almost no films exist on his 
private life," von zur Miihlen explains. "The Soviets got used to looking at 
him from a distance, but the West would like to get closer, to see how he acts, 
speaks, and expresses emotion." 

Western users of film archives in the USSR should also be aware that the 
Soviets used feature film material and recreations of events in their news- 
reels. Military actions from 1942 can be found in documentaries purporting 
to treat 1944. Real soldiers were filmed in close-up in battles that were 
faked. "When it looks like the cameraman risked his life for a good shot, he 
probably didn't," says von zur Miihlen. "The Russian material contains 
what might be called symbolic acts." Soviet archives, he notes, are reluctant 
to make available the original footage which might confirm the staged 
nature of the events. 

Filmmakers interested in historical footage on the Third World might 
approach the public relations office of a country, counsels von zur Miihlen. 
If the leader who ruled during the time in question is still in power, this 
department may well be interested in supplying the film material. In the 
archive of a Third World nation, one may also find Western European films 
that were donated by the production companies. But the archives in 
developing countries generally contain only material from the last 20 to 30 
years, he says, because before that these nations usually lacked labs and 
archives. Filmmakers probably have a greater chance to find material on 
former colonies in the archives of the colonizing country: Great Britain, 
Spain, France, Portugal, etc. But even in those European archives one is 
unlikely to find much footage showing the lower classes in the Third World 
and their daily life, since this topic was generally not considered worth 
shooting. Such considerations limit the type of material one is likely to find. 

Few filmmakers work consistently on historical documentaries; most 
producers and directors are looking for a little piece of archival material on 
a particular event. Unless someone has seen a piece of film of that event, it 
is hard to know if any shots of it survive. But consultants like von zur 
Miihlen can be helpful in suggesting where to search. "And, since my advice 
is free," he quips, "I'm sure I don't overcharge." 

Bengt von zur Miihlen can be contacted at: Chronos-Film GMBH, 
Schopenhauerstrasse 50, D- 1 000 Berlin 38, West Berlin. West Germany ,tel.: 
30-803-3051/52. 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has appeared in Sight and Sound. 
the Boston Globe, In These Times, and elsewhere. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



WHAT'S IN AN ACRONYM? 

Deciphering MEDIA 92 and Other New European Media Initiatives 



MARK NASH 



In the last few years a growing number of European initiatives 
concerned with promoting aspects of European media production have been 
announced and most have been implemented. This article gives an overview 
of some of the programs for audiovisual support at the European state level. 
I focus mainly on the programs funded by the European Community 
Government Institutions: MEDIA 92 and Eureka, and mention briefly one 
program, Eurimages, funded by the Council of Europe. I have had experi- 
ence with several of these programs, and the following notes attempt to 
provide a basic level of information, together with occasional reflections on 
their implications. 

<$» <!» «$► 

Some Questions about Europe 

When we talk of Europe, which Europe are we talking about: the 
EC — the European Community (formerly the EEC — European Economic 
Community) or the Council of Europe (which includes Nordic countries, 
neutral countries such as Austria and Switzerland, as well as EC countries, 
and which corresponds roughly to Western Europe in common parlance? 
The term "European" is often value laden: it can be used (Eurocentrically) 
to marginalize political issues when they concern countries on the European 
"periphery." 1 Moreover, most of the media initiatives referred to below 
extend beyond the EC itself, involving othercountries individually. Follow- 
ing the historical political shifts in Europe in the past year, Gorbachev 's idea 
of a "common European home" is much closer to reality. 

♦ Ideology and Politics ■■$► 

1 don't deal with the ideological and political issues raised by 
these overlapping notions of Europe. Cultural and linguistic xenophobia are 
present in several of the projects: viz. "European culture is about to be 
submerged in a wave of American pap and has to be defended at all costs." 
Economic issues are disguised as cultural ones: For "the defense of the 
European patrimony against the USA and Japan" read national (European) 
economies struggling against more efficient and less class-bound econo- 
mies and cultures. However, within these disagreeable rationales, there is 
much to be made of the loan and subsidy systems on offer. Many of the 
people working in them are promoting notions of a progressive art cinema 
or regionalist cultural policy sensitive to issues of gender and race. 

♦ 1992 and the EEC * 

Ihe objective of creating a single common market in the European 
Community goes back to the 1 958 EEC Treaty of Rome. Despite subsequent 
elimination of tariff and quota restrictions between member states, the 
actual Common Market still had not become a reality. For instance, 
technical barriers such as differing product standards impeded the free 



movement of goods; differing professional qualifications impeded profes- 
sional mobility between member states, and so on. The Single European 
Act, which went into effect in 1987, is concerned with detailed implemen- 
tation of this common market. At the beginning of 1986, following the 
accession of Spain and Portugal to the EC, the domestic European market 
of 323 million people represented almost the combined populations of the 
United States and Japan. 

The Single Market program is essentially economic, though one of its 
major funds, the Social Fund, is concerned with protecting underdeveloped 
areas during the process of reconstruction. At a national level only the 
United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, and France are net 
contributors to the Community; the others, in effect, receive more than they 
put in. In the Single European Act there were also a number of provisions 
allowing for the development of something of a social charter protecting 
workers' rights, provisions which right-wing administrations, such as the 
UK's Conservative government, have tried relatively unsuccessfully to 
frustrate. The Single European Act has also made it possible to move 
towards monetary union with a single European currency, central bank, and 
so on. 

1 992 essentially means a free European market: free movement of goods 
and labor, no tariff barriers, companies able to operate throughout the 
Community. Media and communications have been profoundly affected by 
the economic aspects of these changes. The principles of the EC free market 
are being extended to a free audiovisual market — for instance, the notion of 
"television without frontiers" — challenging the long cherished monopolies 
of European state broadcasting organizations. The emphasis on the free 
market (one Adam Smith would have been proud of) almost by definition 
precludes forms of cultural subsidy. Therefore, initiatives concerned with 
media development have been couched in terms stressing their connection 
with economic development, technical innovation, overcoming linguistic 
boundaries, etc. — even if forms of subsidy are effectively concealed therein. 

Of the EC countries, Britain has been obdurately opposed to European 
cultural initiatives and could easily advocate the dismantling of cultural 
subsidies (e.g., those in the Federal Republic of Germany), which, the 
British will be able to argue, contradict the free market philosophy of the EC. 
France, on the other hand, has pushed the social dimension of the changes 
in progress as well as making a bid to coordinate European media policy. 

It's not easy to predict what the benefits of the new EC media programs 
will be for independents. In some respects film and TV professionals 
already move easily between the various countries. 1 992 will just make that 
process a bit easier. But, along the way, the media components of the plans 
being laid for 1992 have led to the formation of various projects which will 
encourage and rationalize production and which it would be foolish for 
independents to ignore. European organization for media production will 
allow for economies of scale, which may make low-budget production more 
viable. 

I don't want to dwell on the details of these issues here. There is now a 
reasonable amount of coverage of European politics in the North American 
press. However, it's perhaps worth pointing out a few of the contradictions 
facing European socialists when addressing these issues. After long hostil- 
ity to European unity, for instance, the UK Labour Party has been forced to 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



look toward the European arena tor support tor their policies. What was 
originally and to sonic extern correctly seen as simply a free market 
capitalist organization is now the last court of appeal for social justice. The 
European Court of Human Rights restrains some of the worst excesses of the 
UK Thatcherite state. The European Social Fund provides development 
financing for regions in the UK devastated by the deindustrialization which 
followed the monetarist policies in the eighties. Obviously, there is a 
different picture for other EC member countries. 

For a North American reader, the nearest parallel is probably the process 
of IS federation, in which states gave up some of their authority to the 
central federal authority. And to many Europeans the aim is a United States 
of Europe, no less. However, as economists continue to predict the eclipse 
of the U.S. by the Japanese and the Asian-Pacific economies, it may well 
turn out that the European project is less economically beneficial than its 
proponents argue. On the other hand, the political and historical rationale for 
stability in the European configuration where two world wars originated 
cannot be stronger. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

MEDIA 92 

Ims European Community set of programs is based in the Director- 
ate for Information Community and Culture (DG X) in Brussels. The 
acronym MEDIA stands for Mesures pour Encourager le Developpment de 
l'lndustrie Audiovisuelle (Measures to Encourage the Development of the 
Audiovisual Industry). The aim of the program as a whole is to help the 
audiovisual industries organize themselves on a European level as well as 
stimulating European production and "the European idea" (what that is I'm 
never quite sure). The program acts as a catalyst injecting seed money into 
projects. Its budget in 1988 was 5.5-million ECU, for 1989 more than 7- 
million ECU. The program changed its name from plain MEDIA to MEDIA 
92 in order to emphasize its connection to 1992. 

One of the main criticisms of the MEDIA 92 plans by film trade unions 
has been their piecemeal, underfunded nature. Compared to the Social 
Fund, for instance, the monies MEDIA 92 has at its disposal are peanuts and 
in themselves cannot shift the audiovisual economies of Europe. It is no 
accident that some of the more enterprising UK independents in the North 
East have been developing relations directly with the Social Fund. 

On the other hand, one could argue that it is precisely because of this 
relatively low profile that MEDIA 92 has been able to develop its programs 
without interference from potentially hostile governments, such as the UK, 
that are opposed to any form of what they regard as interference in the 
marketplace. As a program within the EC, its budget is renewed annually 
and so is judged not by the standards industry professionals or independent 
producers might use but in terms of Brussels politics. Hence the importance 
of high-level publicity — a yacht in Cannes, Sir Richard Attenborough as 
head of the European Script Fund, and so forth. Many of the programs have 
been running for only one or two years, so it may be too early to form 
definitive judgements, although a number of the programs are clearly 
working well. 

♦ MEDIA 92 Programs ♦ 
EFDO: European Film Distribution Office 

EFDO is the undoubted success story of MEDIA 92. EFDO director Dieter 
Kosslick : used the framework of the Hamburg Low Budget Forum to 
establish this program, which supports distribution costs of selected films. 
EFDO's aim is to support and increase the distribution of low-budget 3 films 
from the countries of the EEC and Switzerland by providing advances on 
receipts for distribution costs. The main criteria for support is that there are 
a minimum of three distributors from different participating countries 
prepared to show the film. These distributors can receive up to 50 percent 



of predistribution costs (subtitling, prints, dubbing, promotional materials, 
etc.) in the form of up-front grants, thus reducing the risk to distribution 
companies. If the film turns a profit, the money must be repaid. 

In the first year of operation, EFDO had allocated nearly 4-million ECU 
in grants to distributors of 34 features. Sixty percent of the funds are 
reserved for what we would call low-budget films (less than 750,000 ECU 
or approximately $900,000). EFDO is already showing a profit. Films 
supported in 1989 range from Terence Davies' Distant Voices, Still Lives 
(UK), which would have managed to get distribution anyway, to Jao 
Botelho's Tempos Dificeis (Hard Times, Portugal), for which distribution 
support was essential. Support for individual films in 1989 ranges from 
201,000 ECU to 59,000 ECU. 4 EFDO has a board of directors with 
representatives from the participant countries, who are very supportive of 
Kosslick's work. At a meeting last fall at the San Sebastian Festival, Maria- 
Joao Seixas of the distribution company Uniportugal was elected president 
of EFDO. 

♦ ♦ O 

BABEL: Broadcasting Across the Barriers of 
European Language 

Set up by the European Broadcasting Union and the European Alliance of 
Television and Culture with support from MEDIA 92, BABEL is concerned 
mainly with subsidizing the surtitling and dubbing of films and video- 
tapes — particularly those in minority European languages — for broadcast 
beyond their regional or national borders. The program is also involved in 
developing dubbing and surtitling techniques as well as surtitling technol- 
ogy- 

The rationale for BABEL is the need to promote multilingualism. 
Clearly, this could be of considerable use to minority European languages 
such as Welsh, Gaelic, Catalan, etc. Financial aid disbursed by the program 
consists of a nonreimbursable grant of up to half of a project's postproduc- 
tion budget. So far, 20 projects have been funded. 

This is a small project in terms of funding, with a 440,000 ECU budget 
in 1988-89. In a way, though, BABEL goes to the heart of the European 
ideology at play in the MEDIA programs — a set of nations united by 
geography, and now by history, but divided by language. English is set to 
become the major European language. Other dominant language groups, 
particularly the French, put vast resources into maintaining their language, 
but smaller linguistic groups do not have that protection and risk having 
their languages become mere dialects in the Europe of the twenty-first 
century. 

Of course a multilingual society will only come into being if vast 
economic resources are mobilized. And there are few signs of that. One hope 
is that new technologies will enable simultaneous broadcasts in several 
languages, so that viewers will be able to choose the language for their TV 
or cinema viewing; BABEL is supporting research in this area. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

EUROAIM: European Organization for an 
Audiovisual Independent Market 

EUROAIM bills itself as "providing services to independent producers in 
the EC" and was originally intended as a progressive organization setting up 
an independent market at Montbeliard (the site of a major biannual video 
festival in France), creating links with Third World countries, and organiz- 
ing independent professionals in Europe. It may have lost some of its radical 
edge, but it's still a well-organized and successful program. EUROAIM 
currently coordinates subsidized participation for European producers in 
existing European markets (Annecy, MIPCOM, MIP-TV, San Sebastian) 
and a database on independent productions. In 1 990 it promises to establish 
two new services: a producer database, called Mediabase, and a marketing 
and distribution consultancy. 

EUROAIM also has relationships with designated producers' 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



organizations, antennes, in many European countries. In 1 989, its first year 
of operation, 360 independent companies from 2 1 countries took part in the 
EUROAIM "umbrella" at Cannes and San Sebastian. Over 3,000 hours of 
programs and over 400 coproduced projects were marketed. They estimate 
that 2,000 hours were sold, representing an impressive turnover of nearly 
13-millionECU. 

My involvement in EUROAIM dates back to attending the Point 87 
festival and conference in Paris in March 1987. For a while I was a UK rep 
for the organization and subsequently a member of the EUROAIM General 
Council. I recently visited the San Sebastian market put together by 
EUROAIM, which was very impressive both in its organization and 
resources, almost eclipsing the festival proper. The response of buyers was 
extremely favorable, and the few UK participants found considerable 
interest in their "products." EUROAIM's main organizer, Karol Kulik, is 
expert in organizing markets; she previously organized the London Screen- 
ings before it was bought out by the MIP/MIPCOM organization. 

Since EUROAIM is currently conceived as intervening in existing 
markets, its relationship to those market organizations is crucial. One of the 
UK producers' groups, the Independent Programme Producers Association 
(IPPA), for instance, was concerned that EUROAIM would poach members 
who would normally subscribe to its umbrella schemes. An agreement was 
reached whereby EUROAIM selects producers who would otherwise not be 
able to afford to attend markets and who haven't benefitted from its 
subsidized places before. Even so, the cost of attending a market can run into 
hundreds of pounds (registration, fares, accommodation). What is needed 
for impecunious independents is a form of umbrella within the umbrella, so 
to speak, which producers' organizations such as the UK's Independent 
Film, Video and Photography Association is in a good position to provide — 
e.g., by presenting tapes of members' work, together with publicity mate- 
rial, possibly in return for a percentage of any sales made. 

EUROAIM Production Mediabase 

This EUROAIM database is a computerized list of completed European 
independent productions (all lengths, all genres) intended to give interna- 
tional buyers immediate access to detailed information on, currently, more 
than 3,000 titles. Registration of productions is free. North American 
producers interested in registration would need to be able to argue some 
European connection, but criteria are very flexible. The database can be 
consulted at markets but not accessed via modem; nor is it available as hard 
copy at present. This is unfortunate, given the development of community 
databases in other areas. But EUROAIM might respond to pressure to 
develop this concept of access. 

EUROAIM Producer Mediabase 

EUROAIM is now launching a new database comprised of profiles of 
European independent production companies. Operational by mid- 1990, 
among other things it will enable North American producers to search for 
potential European partners. 

Marketing and Distribution Consultants 

This is a service concerned with promotion and selling — the territories that 
should be most interested in a particular program, a good price to offer, the 
markets that should be attended. Only written queries will be answered. As 
the MEDIA 92 program most open to non-European work and keen to 
develop contacts outside of Europe, EUROAIM is one of the first ports of 
call for US producers hoping to develop European contacts. 

EUROAIM Calendar 1990 
EUROAIM offers umbrella facilities at Cannes MIP-TV (April 20-25), 



Cannes MIPCOM (October 11-15), and at Donostia/San Sebastian (Sep- 
tember). It will also be present at the Berlin Film Market (February 9-20), 
Monte Carlo International Television Market (February 11-16), and the 
Marseilles International Market for Documentaries (June 21-24). 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Media Investment Club for Advanced 
Technologies Applied to Audiovisual Programs 

Set up in conjunction with INA (the French National Audiovisual Institute), 
the Media Investment Club aims to bring together European industrial, 
financial, and commercial institutions to promote both programs and 
projects involving the use of advanced technologies. Its announced objec- 
tive is to encourage training, production, and information in computer 
graphics, digital television, and HDTV. The Club includes broadcasters 
RAI (Italy) and Antenne 2 (France), banks such as the CDC-Participations, 
multinational corporations Maxwell Communications and Thompson 
Techniques de Communication, and hardware producers, e.g., Phillips 
International. No details about projects in development are available as yet. 

♦ ^ <0> 

ESF: The European Script Fund 
(formerly known as Script) 

Based at the British Film Institute in London, this program has begun 
funding script development by providing seed money to foster script writing 
and financing packages for any kind of fictional work (excluding animation, 
which is dealt with by another MEDIA 92 initiative). Producers must put up 
half of the agreed budget. The maximum loan is 37,500 ECU (approxi- 
mately $45,000). Thirty percent of the fund is allocated to writers working 
on their own. In practice, it is administratively easier for writers to get 
money from the fund than producers. They allow for writer's retainers in 
their budgets but not producer's retainers. The project has an annual budget 
of 2-million ECU and is expected to support between 80 and 120 projects 
a year. 

The ESF grew out of a pilot project, Stories Come First, 5 involving 
consultation with leading European film professionals. This earlier project 
argued for the primacy of "stories" and the importance of the screenplay in 
a film's preproduction process. In practice, the ESF's judgment is very 
much that of its director Rene Goddard, who has extensive experience in 
TV, and her assistant Don Ranvaud, whose background is in film. Commer- 
cial potential is important because the ESF projects have to be seen as viable 
productions. It's also important for producers to have some ideas about 
potential European partners before applying, and the more professional the 
application the better. 

I currently have a feature film project in development with funding from 
the ESF — a science fiction project entitled Memoirs of a Spacewoman. I had 
adapted a Naomi Mitchison novel myself but needed a more experienced 
writer to write the final draft(s). The ESF provided funds enabling me to 
engage a professional writer for the project, as well as budgetting and 
scheduling the script-writing process. 

Although projects are judged on their merits, an unofficial quota system 
operates to ensure that smaller EC countries are not underrepresented in 
ESF subsidies. Consequently, it is easier to originate a project from a 
country like Portugal or Greece, rather than the UK, which swamped the 
Script Fund with applications in its early stages. I was lucky to secure the 
help of a Swiss executive producer, and so my project was presented as a 
potential Swiss/UK coproduction. 

It is possible for North Americans to develop projects through the ESF, 
provided they employ a European national as a writer, have links with a 
European coproducer, and the subject matter has a European focus. Most 
European producers are desperate to break into the English-speaking (i.e., 
US) market, and many now plan their films in English, using some British 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



TARGET: DISTRIBUTION 



The EFDO Program 



TESSA HORAN 



The European Film Distribution Office. EFDO. is one of the most 
exciting components of MEDIA 92. Its aim is to build a distribution 
network that bridges the cultural, geographic, and linguistic barriers of 
Europe. These barriers have been an obstacle to European cinema for 
years, and the results have been disastrous. 

To understand the enormity of EFDO's task one must have a clear 
picture of the movie business in Europe. It is divided into two unequal 
parts. The smaller part belongs to the Europeans themselves. The lion's 
share, as here in the United States, belongs to the major Hollywood stu- 
dios. In fact, the European film industry has a lot in common with US 
independent filmmakers. European films are much more a cultural prod- 
uct than a commercial product. 




European films have as hard a 
time finding a theater and build- 
ins an audience as do American 
independents. And the distribu- 
tors who are interested in Euro- 
pean-made films are the ones 
who look for American inde- 
pendent films. 

Between 60 and 85 percent of 
the movies seen in Europe are 
produced and distributed by US 
studios. They have spent years 
building strong distributionnet- 
works in Europe and have al- 
ways viewed the European 
market as a unified whole. 
Consequently, they have been 
able to develop cohesive adver- 
tising programs for their mov- 
ies. They have access to the best 
theaters in most countries, 
thereby ensuring timely releases 
across the board. Most impor- 
tandy, the US studios can cross- 

coUateralize their profits and losses. This means that they are never at the 
mercy of one given country's particular tastes. 

The European part of the movie business is made up of local film 
industries based in various countries. These markets are very insular, 
each country has its own set of films and distribution of them has always 
been a local affair. Eighty percent of the films made in one country never 
reach theaters in the rest of Europe. The obvious differencesof language, 
tastes, and geography have been exacerbated by a total lack of any pan- 
European distribution network. 

Without a strong network the 20 percent of European films that are 
distributed outside their country of origin rarely generate the momentum 
of a mass market movie: A movie that opens in France in December 
might not get to a screen in Germany until a full year has gone by. Very 
few theaters are willing to take a chance on these movies, and distribu- 
tors are never able to ensure a steady stream of competitive product. 



The European Film Distribution Office (EFDO) has helped 
support the European distribution of at least 17 low-budget 
films, including Terence Davies' Distant Voices, Still lives, 
which played in Belgium/Luxembourg, Denmark, Italy, 
France, and the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Courtesy Academy Pictures 



There is no consistent advertising strategy from one country to the next. 
Most importandy, the territorial dictates of distributors make cross-col- 
lateralization an impossibility. 

The opening of the European market in 1992 presents a major 
challenge to the European film industry. The industry now has an 
opportunity to break out of territorial limits and build an industry strong 
enough to give Hollywood a bigger run for their money. The challenge 
will be to make movies that maintain the cultural flavors of Europe while 
appealing to a mass audience. In order to do this, distributors across 
Europe must begin to work together. They must share both risks and 
rewards and develop a strong distribution network that encourages a pan- 
European film industry. 

EFDO is instrumental in building that network because it focuses on 
the two key weaknesses of the current distribution system. EFDO pro- 
vides financial support and ac- 
tively encourages links between 
distributors. EFDO grants ad- 
vances on receipts to cover costs 
for dubbing/subtitling a film in 
several different languages at 
one time, as well as for print and 
advertising costs. 

To get an advance a film must 
have distribution agreements 
with three distributors in three 
different EC countries. The fi- 
nancial assistance gives these 
distributors the badly needed 
edge in competing against the 
more sophisticated Hollywood 
films. They can afford to de- 
velop comprehensive advertis- 
ing campaigns and worktowards 
simultaneous release schedules. 
Working together they will be 
more inclined to share in the 
profits generated in one country 
and absorb the losses in another 
country, minimizing the down- 
side for everyone and making it more appealing to release other movies 
across Europe. 

If successful, EFDO's support will create both a strong network of 
distributors and an appetite among Europeans for movies other than Hol- 
lywood fare. For independent filmmakers in the US this is good news. 
These are, for the most part, the distributors who are already handling US 
independent films in Europe. The stronger these distributors become, the 
more appetite Europeans develop for non-Hollywood fare, the more dis- 
tributors will need an ever increasing number of quality films. To keep 
up a steady stream of product, they will most certainly turn to US inde- 
pendent filmmakers. 



Tessa Horan is the head of infinity Films, a company that produces films 
for children and is based in Weehawken, New Jersey. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



and North American actors. A project that already had the interest of such 
actors would therefore be well situated to compete for ESF funding. 

ESF funding is usually awarded on the basis of a synopsis, acquisition of 
rights, interest of key principals, and so forth, unlike the usual North 
American procedure of requiring either a first-draft script or a lengthy 
treatment. My project was one of the few where a finished script was 
submitted, and it will be interesting to see how many synopses develop into 
successful scripts compared to those already submitted in script form. One 
problem in European production is that those who commission films often 
have little script reading expertise. There will be room for this project to 
develop in this direction as well. 

<0> ♦ ♦ 

Cartoon: European Association for 
Animated Film 

Initiated by the Association Europeen du Film d'Animation (AEFA), the 
Cartoon program was established to encourage cooperation in areas of 
production, distribution, and training in animated films. Its projects include 
setting up a network of European studios, development of a database, and 
allocation of production aid in the form of advances on receipts. 

European animation production currently represents about 200 hours per 
year, around eight percent of world output, from a range of small studios. 
One of the key goals of this project is to enable European studios to pool their 
resources and thus to compete more effectively in the international market. 
This involves standardizing production methods, developing a vocational 
training for a new generation of animation technicians, organizing anima- 
tors professionally, and promoting European animated films to television 
stations and festivals. A number of preproduction and screenplay awards 
have also been established. 

There is a European style of animation — "poetic, mannered, imagina- 
tive, it reminds me of vintage children's films," says one of the contributors 
to the MEDIA 92 newsletter. The problem facing European animators is to 
update this, make it adult. "Why not a European period to follow the 
Japanese invasion?" The aesthetic and economic battle has just begun. 

♦ <0> 4> 

EAVE: Les Entrepreneurs de 

l'Audiovisuel Europeen 

EAVE is a training seminar for independent producers and is now in its 
second year. It comprises approximately six weeks of seminars in groups of 
two weeks in three separate European locations over the period of one year. 
The current session is being held in Avignon, Graz, and Lisbon. The seminar 
is conducted in English, but English treated as a second language, which is 
convenient for anglophone participants but curiously frustrating as well. All 
participants get a European postgraduate diploma! 

The seminar program is organized by Raymond Ravar of the Belgian 
National Film School and Eckart Stein of ZDF, the innovative West German 
public TV station. Various experts, mainly producers, financiers, and 
commissioning editors who would not normally be accessible to indepen- 
dents early in their careers, are invited to address the seminars. The concen- 
tration of the sessions creates the opportunity for participants to develop 
links within the group, which will continue into their professional (and of 
course in some cases, personal) lives. Participants — 20 this year — are first 
selected by national representatives on the basis of a production dossier, 
including a draft script and production plan; the final selection is determined 
by a European committee chaired by Stein. 

The seminar is composed of three elements: roundtable discussions of 
projects, seminars, and individual tutorials. The seminars range over the 
entire terrain of preproduction, with much attention given to financing, 
learning how to negotiate the complex European subsidy system, and 
packaging and presenting the project to potential backers. Particular empha- 
sis was put on the widely differing subsidy and production apparatuses of 
the participating countries. Independent filmmakers in Greece, for ex- 



ample, have precious little support, and their broadcasters pay ludicrously 
low rates. Filmmakers in Berlin or Barcelona, on the other hand, benefit 
from elaborate subsidy structures designed to promote the city or region. 

Group sessions analyze each project in detail. The comments made by 
fellow participants are often hard-hitting. I attended the first course with a 
script I had written and found moving between the roles of writer/director 
and producer somewhat difficult. I was advised to concentrate on direction 
and involve another producer for my project. In fact, I was able to interest 
one of the course tutors to act as executive producer. Tutorials ensured that, 
as far as possible, the needs of an individual project were being met. 

The final stage, which in my year was held in Barcelona, was constructed 
as a simulation of pitching one's project. I met commissioning editors from 
the countries most likely to be interested in funding my project and tried to 
sell the idea to them. No commitments were made at the seminar, but in 
many cases those contacts served the producers in good stead. 

One of the most useful aspects of the course was meeting a range of 
European producers over a sufficiently long period to build up a small 
business-cum-friendship network. Rather like college graduates ex-EAVE 
participants continue to meet at festivals, develop projects together, and 
exchange information. An EAVE Club is being established to formalize this 
process. 

From my experience of the course, it tended to pull in two directions: On 
the one hand, producers who had forked out hefty fees needed to recoup their 
investment, i.e., make contacts and get on with making films and programs. 
(I could take a slightly more detached view, having received a grant from 
Channel Four TV to attend. ) On the other hand, the educational rationale of 
the course required debate and discussion on aesthetic and political issues 
which didn't immediately result in production potential. 

"One of EAVE's tasks is to endeavour to promote new ideas for programs 
likely for example to break with the traditional laws of television program- 
ming," says course director Raymond Ravar in a recent publicity blurb. Yet 
my own feeling in reading the range of initial projects is that very few were 
particularly original. Novel perhaps, in that every new project must have an 
angle which make those commissioning it think it's different, but not too 
different. 

Ravar also stresses the seminar's emphasis on working with indepen- 
dents who are already professionals. But many of us in the first year were 
not that well-established. A considerable component of our interest and ex- 
citement came from the clash of experience and expectations. It is difficult 
to teach entrepreneurial skills without endorsing a set of values that go with 
that. Hopefully, the seminar will manage to find a way to train people to 
produce differently as well. But they will produce. More than half of the 
projects selected to participate in EAVE in 1 988-89 are either in production, 
preproduction, or further development — not a bad record for a new training 
program. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

EVE: Espace Video Europeen/European 
Video Space 

A recent initiative based in the Mediatheque de la Communaute Franchise 
de Belgique in Brussels, one of Europe's most progressive media centers, 
EVE 6 was set up to develop a network for video distribution and exhibition, 
involving "local" video distributors (video shops, libraries, etc.). The 
current market share for such distribution is currently estimated at 5-million 
ECU. Under EVE, a European group of distributors has been established to 
promote the sector and operate as a buyers club, which should allow the 
distributors to make more favorable deals on rights, as well as establish 
catalogues and collections more representative of the range of European 
film and video work. EVE also plans to design a financial support mecha- 
nism to transfer new European films to videocassette by providing aid to 
publishers and distributors in the form of loans based on the EFDO model. 
As with most of the MEDIA 92 programs, the blurb for EVE is exemplary 
in its xenophobia: "Defence of cultural values in the European Audiovisual 
industry must be given top priority through support to distribution." 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



This is a relative!) recoil addition to the complement of MEDIA 92 
projects, but it has considerable potential. Already in the UK, the BFI has 
begun developing a film "classics" on video library at relatively reasonable 
\ou can buy such Soviet classics as Potemkin for about US $30. 
With European-wide organization, we may see prices approaching those for 
Hollywood classics and not-such-classics which dominate our video stores 
at the moment. 

EVE also promises to give "proper attention to the dimension of the 
videocassetie." sentiments videomakers will be pleased to hear. This 
program could transform the prospects of made-for-video work (whether 
video art or documentary) and provide a stimulus to production, for 
videomakers often dependent on meager subsidies. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Media Venture and Media Guarantee 

These projects will establish a venture capital fund to finance large-budget 
productions and a guarantee fund to extend the credit opportunities for the 
audiovisual industry, but both are still in development. 

Media Guarantee is intended to guarantee up to 70 percent of loans to 
audiovisual producers, based on the model successfully developed in 
France by the IFCIC (Institut pour le Financement du Cinema et des 
Industries Culturelles). Eighty percent of French film production is covered 
by such credit guarantees. 

Media Venture will invest as coproducer in films equivalent to those 
which cost between US $14-million and $24-million. There are currently 
few European productions at this level. Television investment will be 
devoted to series with large number of episodes, soap operas, and prestig- 
ious series — types of programs that are relatively nonexistent in Europe 
compared to the US. 

Unlike many European TV coproductions, where economies of scale 
enable relatively noncommercial programming, Media Venture projects 
will have to sell. It will also make capital investment in European production 
companies, as well as in the distribution industry. Hollywood-am-Rhien? 

Preliminary discussions concerning these projects are on-going, prepar- 
ing a legal framework and most crucially convincing financial experts and 
investors of their viability. This is very much a child of 1992: With the 
consolidation of the European market, its proponents argue, it may be 
possible to return to the days when Europe led the world in audiovisual 
production or, more modestly, put a dent in the US export market. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Regional Development of the Audio Visual 
Industry 

Originally one of the MEDIA 92's pilot projects, this was designed to 



transport the spirit of the UK's Workshop Declaration 7 to the rest of Europe, 
joining up with the EC's Social Fund to transform the face of workshop (and 
independent?) production. A study is underway involving Amber Produc- 
tions, from the UK's North East, and producers from small countries/ 
regions, coordinated by Channel Four's Eleventh Hour department. Appar- 
ently, the project hit snags earlier last year when Channel Four refused to 
sign an indemnity for the project, i.e., it didn't want legal responsibility. 
There has been a growing realization that the Workshop Declaration cannot 
easily be transplanted to other countries, mainly because it's too expensive. 
Now other, more flexible models are being discussed. 

♦ Eurimages ♦ 

I he Council of Europe has recently taken the lead in relation to 
broadcasting legislation. It has also recently initiated a filmmaking pro- 
gram, Eurimages, with large sums of money available to projects that deal 
with European issues. Eurimages' role is to stimulate coproduction and dis- 
tribution of European film and audiovisual works, acting through subsidies, 
advances against receipts, and loans. Its brochure states, directors should 
"highlight the ways in which national outlooks reinforce European iden- 
tity."" European producers are able to combine monies from the Eurimage 
fund with coproduction monies from European Broadcasters, thereby 
facilitating coproduction. Several fiction films are already in production 
which might well not have been made without the help of this initiative. 
Eurimages is not really accessible to UK filmmakers because the UK 
government, being against cultural "subsidies," is not a signatory to the 
program and Eurimages subsidy involves a project having at least three 
signatory coproducers participating. 

♦ Eureka «$» 

IIiUreka is a "pan-European" EC-funded initiative covering 19 coun- 
tries. It encourages the European industry to collaborate on developing 
products, processes, and services for world markets, thus helping to com- 
mercially exploit research carried out at both the national level and within 
the EC R&D Framework Program. Last September a section of Eureka, 
Eureka Audio/Visuel, held a conference in Paris, Les Assises Culturelles. 
It was widely seen as an attempt by the French to corner EC media 
initiatives, as part of Mitterrand's Sun King approach to cultural issues. 
Twenty-six European countries were represented at the conference, which 
was not advertised at all in the UK, as far as I am aware. According to the 
press, delegates decided to encourage a more transparent and dynamic 
European marketplace for European projects, encourage more projects 
involving technological and artistic cooperation, gain wider distribution for 
European films and TV programs within domestic markets and overseas, 
and promote European technology, especially in the field of HDTV. The 



♦ References ♦ 



The Europe 1992 Directory A research and information guide, 
edited by Anthony Inglis and Catherine Hoskyns, ITCU/Coventry 
Polytechnic 1989. A research and information guide emphasizing 
where people can find further information on issues related to the 
competition of the European market in 1992. 

Media 92, Newsletter of the Media 92 Program An occasional 
publication which reports on the progress of MEDIA 92's major 
projects, pilot ventures, and new initiatives. Much of the information 
in this article is drawn from this newsletter, which is essential reading 
to keep abreast of developments in this sector. 



Media 92 Vade Mecum Known in the trade as "the Bible," it 
contains all the official documents relating to the Media 92 Programs: 
EFDO, BABEL, Media Investment Club, European Script Fund, 
Cartoon, 

User's Guide to the Media 92 Program A summary of the above. 
Contains detailed contact information. 

The above publications are available from: Commission of the 
European Communities, Directorate-General Information, Communi- 
cation, Culture, rue de la Loi 200, B1049 Brussels, Belgium. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



conferees also agreed to set up an organizing committee made up of repre- 
sentatives of all the countries taking part, as well as the European commis- 
sion, with a secretariat designed to help A/V organizations find partners in 
other countries for specific projects. 

It was originally feared that Eureka would supercede MEDIA 92, but 
deals appear to have been made to protect MEDIA 92 and the Eurimage 
programs before the conference opened. Eureka A/V can be read as an 
attempt to inject real money into the European audiovisual industry, 
particularly in the area of new image technologies and developing technol- 
ogy that can compete with Japanese products. 

♦ European Organizations of Independents ♦ 

Ihere are a number of organizations claiming to represent Euro- 
pean producers and directors: FERA, based in Brussels, which appears to do 
very little, and, in 1988 the UK's IPPA set up a group of producers' 
associations, called CEPI (Coordination Europeen des Producteurs Indepen- 
dants), which represents Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, 
the UK, and West Germany. Not a festival or market passes without some 
mention of some new initiative to establish supranational links. Clearly 
there is a demand for an association of European producers and directors or- 
ganizations to lobby institutionally at that level, and organizations of US 
producers would need to be involved in that process if they wish to be 
recognized in these debates. 

♦ Subsidies in Individual EC Countries ♦ 

Ihere is abundant material for a separate article concerning film 
subsidies in individual EC countries, for which all European independents 
will theoretically be eligible after 1992. There have been several proposals 
for compiling a database. Lucrative seminars are run on these issues, e.g., 
by Rene Gundelach in Germany. Details are best obtained through individ- 
ual countries' producers organizations or pan-European associations as and 
when these are credibly established. 



Notes 

1 . Like the situation of Kurdish refugees in the UK, who receive less attention than 
the refugees from East Germany. 

2. Kosslick has now crossed the street to head Film Fonds Hamburg, which together 
with the Film Bureau promotes the use of Hamburg's film facilities by offering 
generous production subventions. The current director of EFDO is Torsten 
Teichert. 



3. Low budget is defined by 


EFDO 


as less than 2,250,000 ECU; roughly $2,700,000. 


4. These are the figures for Hard Times: 




Distributor: 






Grant amount 


Artificial Eye 




GB/Ireland 


9,632.12 ECU 


Edition Salzgeber 




FRG 


9,226.79 


Lasa Distribution 




France 


49,543.5 1 


Cinelibre 




Belgium/Lux 


11,362.44 


Total: 






89,764.86 ECU 



5. Stories Come First, an IIC Report for the European Communities Directorate 
General Information, Communications, Culture, MEDIA Program, 1988. 

6. Not to be confused with EAVE, both pronounced "eve." EVE will be organized 
from the Irish Film Institute, with an office in Brussels. 

7. The 1984 Workshop Declaration is an agreement forged between groups of 
independent producers (workshops), Britain's principle union of film and television 
technicians, Channel Four, and the British Film Institute, which allows workshops 
franchised by the union and funded by Channel Four and the BFI to work within 
the film and television industries without abandoning their collective production 
practices. 

8. The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Resolution (88)15, setting up a 
European support fund for the coproduction and distribution of creative 
cinematographic and audiovisual works, which became Eurimages. 

Mark Nash is a film producer and teaches film- and videomaking at the 
London Institute. 



♦ Contacts ♦ 



«!- Broadcasting Across the Barriers of European 
Language (BABEL) 

Secretariat, c/o European Broadcasting Union (EBU), 
Gisele Di Marzio/Diana Knopfle, 17a Ancienne Route, Case 
Postale 67, CH 1218 Grand Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland; 
phone: 22798 77 66; fax: 22798 58 97; telex: 415700 

♦ Cartoon 

rue Frans Merjay 127, B-1060 Brussels, Belgium, attn: 
Marc Vandeweyer 

♦ Eurimages 

Executive Secretary, Palais de T Europe, BP 431 R6, F- 
67006 Strasbourg Cedex, France 

♦ European Organization for an Audiovisual Independent 
Market (EUROAIM) 

26 rue des Minimes, B 1000 Brussels; phone; 2-518-14-60; 
fax:2-512-86-57 



♦ European Film Distribution Office 

Friedensallee 14-16, D-2000 Hamburg 50, Federal Republic 
of Germany, atrn: Ute Schneider, Secretary; phone: 040- 
390-90-25; telex: 216-53-55D; fax: 040-39-54-95 

-*■ European Script Fund 
21 Stephen St., London W1P 1PL, UK, attn: Rene Goddard, 
Secretary General; phone: 01-251-4444; fax: 01-436-7950/ 
580 0046; telex: 27624BFIDNG 

♦ Entrepreneurs de I'Audiovisuel Europeen (EAVE) 

8 rue TMr£sienne, 1000 Brussels, Belgium; phone: 322 511 
9032; fax; 322 511 0279 

♦ Media Investment Club 

General Secretariat, Henri False/Patrick Madelin, 4, Avenue 
de l'Europe, F 94366 Bry sur Mame Cedex, France; phone: 
(331) 49-83-21 01/49 83-23-22; fax: (331) 49-83-25-82; 
telex: 231 194F 



MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



IN & OUT OF 
PRODUCTION 



RENEE TAJIMA 



Filmmaker Ste\en Schecter. who lived in the 
So\ iet Union 20 years ago. recently returned there 
to explore the startling changes that are taking 
place. In My Russian Friends Schecter uses both 
cinema verite and first person narration to create 
a personal film that confronts the political, ideo- 
logical, religious, and even "new age" issues of 
the country . His Soviet friends talk candidly about 
the effect of perestroika and glasnost on their 
li\ es and their society. One old friend named 
Lyokha questions many of these changes, while a 
new friend, Vadim. supports the recent reforms. 
Schecter goes to a rock concert in Gorky and visits 
a modem art exhibit, a local marketplace, the 
Moscow countryside, a recycling plant, an Ortho- 
dox Church, even a small Hare Krishna sect to 
draw a portrait of a people in transition. The 58- 
minute video won a Silver Hugo Award at the 
Chicago International Film Festival and the Judges 
Award at the Sinking Creek Film Festival. My 
Russian Friends: The Video Project, 5332 Col- 
lege Ave.. Ste. 101. Oakland. CA 94618; (415) 
655-9050. 

Ever since the First World War, Native Ameri- 
can Indians have served in the Armed Forces of 
the United States. During the Vietnam War. when 
close to 90 percent of the 86.000 w ho served w ere 
volunteers. Native Americans had the highest 
record of service per capita of any other national- 
it) . Over half served in combat. Why were so 
many Native Americans willing to fight in the 
United States' most controversial war? What is 
their view of Vietnam 20 years later? Deb Wall- 
work's Warriors is a new video documenting the 
commitment and contribution of these veterans. 
Created for Prairie Public Television, the one- 
hour program won first prize for documentary 
feature at the thirteenth American Indian Film 
Festival, Best of Festival honors at the Montana 
Film and Video Festival, and has been picked up 
for distribution by Intermedia Arts Minnesota. 
Warriors: Intermedia Arts, 425 Ontario St.. S.E., 
Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 

Teressa Uongo's short film Quizas (Perhaps) 
presents the story of Uinda. a young divorcee who 
moonlights as a sketch artist at a Uas Vegas casino 
after winding up her day job as a secretary . Trying 
to forget her ex-husband. Uinda keeps busy and 
hopes to earn enough money to move to Santa Fe 
and become a painter. One night at the casino, Al, 
a rich and very lucky older gambler, sits down for 




The Oedipal conflict which 
serves as the basis of Rope 
of Blood, Gordon Dahlquist 
and Gregg Osborn's 
seriocomic detective yarn, is 
suggested in this fish- 
cleaning scene. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



a sketch. He propositions her. Uinda laughs, but 
reconsiders. Adapted from Alice Denham's short 
story "The Deal." Quizas follows Uinda's delay — 
and final completion — of her half of the bargain 
« ith Al. Shot by Uongo in a mid-fifties setting, the 
original story first appeared in Playboy in 1 956 (as 
a publicity stunt, author Denham also appeared as 
the centerfold for the same issue). Quizas. which 
was completed last February, has already earned 
a Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film 
Festival. Quizas: The Deal Productions. 14 Ozone 
Ave.. #3. Venice. CA 90291; (213) 396-2723. 

Tacoma. Washington-based filmmakers Gor- 
don Dahlquist and Gregg Osborn have completed 
Rope of Blood, an off-beat seriocomic detective 
tale based on the Oedipus myth. The screenplay 
b> Dahlquist. Osborn. and Chuck Sullivan, fea- 
tures the return of X (Uuther James Uuckett). a 
drifter, to his blighted hometown. Meeting with a 
former colleague. X takes on an assignment to 
find the lost son of a high-ranking scientist who is 
missing in the outlying desert. X reluctantly pur- 
sues the investigation armed with little informa- 
tion and in the course of his journey is faced with 
a my sterious tableau of phantom images. A first 
feature. Osborn produced, shot, and edited the 76- 
minute film for under S 1 0.000 during a three-and- 
a-half year period. Photographed mainly in Port- 
land. Oregon, the film 's cast and crew were largely 
drawn from the local community. Rope of Blood 
premiered at the sixth Olympia Film Festival in 
Olympia. Washington, last November. Rope of 
Blood: Gorilla Productions. Box 111892. Ta- 
coma. WA 9841 1-1892. 

Through the words and ideas of environmental 
martyr Chico Mendes. filmmaker Miranda Smith 
explores the devastation facing the Amazon rain 
forest. Smith filmed Mendes' last television inter- 



view in November 1988. a month before he was 
assassinated by a shotgun blast at home in Xapuri, 
Brazil. In the resulting documentary. Voice of the 
Amazon. Mendes weaves the tale of events that 
have occurred in this region of Brazil during his 
lifetime, relating the development of the western 
Amazonian state of Acre with the destruction that 
threatens the lives of the forest's entire popula- 
tion. Mendes was a champion for the Brazilian 
Amazon. He fought to present economic alterna- 
tives to the destruction of the forest and worked to 
prove that the products which exist there naturally 
can yield a greater return than cattle ranching — 
one of a number of the causes behind deforesta- 
tion. He achieved international attention for his 
work, but that success alarmed cattle ranchers and 
powerful speculators who had a financial interest 
in the region. And his organizing led to his death 
on December 22, 1 988. Smith completed Voice of 
the Amazon last October in cooperation with the 
Better World Society. She received grants from a 
variety of sources, including Patagonia, Peter 
Max. the United Nations Environment Program, 
the F.P. Kendall Foundation. Uippincott Founda- 
tion. Uaurance Rockefeller, and other private 
contributions. It premiered on the Turner Broad- 
casting System in November. Voice of the Ama- 
zon: Miranda Smith Prods., 30 W. 74th St.. Ste. 
4D. New York. NY 10023; (212) 362-1320. 

Also set in Brazil, the documentary The For- 
bidden Uand looks at Uiberation Theology in the 
struggle for land reform. Directed by Helena 
Solberg and produced and edited by David Meyer, 
the one-hour film tells the story of the radical split 
in the Catholic church in Brazil and the involve- 
ment of the "progressive" church in the violent 
conflict over land rights. Included is an interview 
with Geraldo Rodrigues. the hired gunman who 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



Having raised his voice against the 

destruction of the Amazon rain forest, 

organizer Chico Mendes was the target 

of repeated assassination attempts and 

was eventually shot to death in his 

backyard in 1988. His last TV interview 

was conducted by filmmaker Miranda 

Smith, who incorporates it into her 

documentary Voice of the Amazon. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



killed Fr. Josimo Moraes Tavares in 1 986 because 
of his support of the peasants in land conflicts. The 
Forbidden Land also focuses on the efforts by the 
Vatican to contain this new church by rezoning 
dioceses and installing conservative, pro- Vatican 
bishops. A major character is Pedro Casaldaliga, 
the controversial bishop of the remote village of 
Sao Felix do Araguaia. Meyer and Solberg pro- 
duced the documentary with funding from the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National 
Film Board of Canada, and the Public Broadcast- 
ing Service. The Forbidden Land: International 
Cinema, 200 W. 90th St., Ste. 6H, New York, NY 
10024. 

Producer-videographer Will Doolittle has just 
completed We All Belong: A Young People's 
Mural Honoring Cultural Diversity. The 16- 
minute video shows a group of 34 young people. 




ranging in age from nine to 1 8 years and of diverse 
cultural backgrounds, making powerful statements 
against racism in their community. The camera 
follows them as they First view swastikas, racial 
epithets, and other graffiti defacing the back wall 
of a local business, then proceed to design and 
paint a colorful mural of hope along the 180 foot 
wall. They talk while they paint, and as they talk 
the mural takes shape: adorned with creatures of 
the sea, a multicolored pet shop and juke box 
dancers, people working together, all images both 
serious and whimsical. The tape was produced for 
Clergy and Laity Concerned of Western Oregon 



ATTENTION 
AI VF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column 
is a regular feature in The Independent, 
designed to give AIVF members an 
opportunity to keep the organization 
and others interested in independent 
media informed about current work. 
We profile works-in-progress as well as 
recent releases. AIVF members are in- 
vited to submit detailed information 
about their latest film or videotape for 
inclusion in In and Out of Production. 
Send descriptions and black and white 
photographs to: The Independent, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor., New York, NY 
10012; attn: In and Out of Production. 



and is intended for distribution to schools and 
community organizations. We All Belong: IVS, 
401 East 10th Ave., Suite 160, Eugene, OR 97401; 
(503) 345-3455. 



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MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



FESTIVALS 



Domestic 

\Mi'\s\ \i UN MY FOUNDATION STUDENT FILM 

v\v \Kl)S.June.CA 1 7th annual competition sponsored 
h> Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to 
support & encourage filmmakers w/ no previous 
professional experience enrolled in accredited colleges 
& uni\ersities A whose work was made as result of 
student-teacher collaboration. $2000 outstanding 
achievement awards in cats of animation, doc, drama, 
experimental: up to 2 addt' I S 1 000 merit aw ards in these 
cats Work must he under 60 mm. completed after April 
1. l^S l > Judging done n> regional coordinators & 
submitted to Academy for final consideration: submit 
work to appropriate coordinator. Academy also produces 
compilation film of w inners. Format: 3/4". 35mm. 1 6mm. 
Deadline: April 2 1 midnight ). Regions: I (MN. NH. VT. 
MA.RI.CT): Ben Levin. Div. of Mass Communication, 
Emerson College. 100 Beacon St., Boston. MA 021 16. 
(617) 578-8832: II iNJ. PA. DE. MD. DC. OH. VA. 
W\ ,KY): Fred Goldman. Middle Atlantic Film Board. 
2338 Perot St.. Philadelphia. PA 19130. (215) 978- 
4700: III (NY. PR): Daniel Glick. Brooklyn College 
Film Dept.. Bedford Ave. & Ave. H. Brooklyn, NY 
11210. (718) 780-5664; IV (NC. SC. TN, AR. GA. AL. 
FL. MS. LA. OK. TX. CO. NM. UT. AZ): Michael 
Cohn. Dept. of Radio-TV-Film, CMA 6.1 18. Univ. of 
Texas, Austin. TX 787 12-1091. (512)471 -407 1:V(MI. 
IN, WI, MN, IL. IA, ND. SD, NE. KS. MO): Dan 
Ladely. Sheldon Film Theater. Univ. of Nebraska. 
Lincoln. NE 68588. (402) 472-5353: VI (MT. WY. ID. 
NY. AK. \VA. OR. North CA): Bill Foster. NW Film 
Study Ctr. Portland Art Assoc. 1219 SW Park. Portland. 
OR 97205.(503)221-1 156: VIKSouthCA. HI): Donald 
J. Zirpola, Communication Arts Dept.. Loyola Mary- 
mount Univ.. Loyola Blvd. at W. 80 St.. Los Angeles. 
CA 90045. (213)642-3033. 

ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 

v al w ill be held from June 28-July 3. not April 6-8 as 
reported in the Jan/Feb issue. 

BLACKLIGHT: A FESTIVAL OF BLACK INTER- 
NATIONAL CINEMA, July. IL. Since 1982. fest has 
worked to present the best of Black-produced & Black- 
oriented cinema from around the world & is now one of 
largest of its kind. Program incl. features, docs, shorts, 
videos & int'l TV programs. Director Webb scouts 
works at Berlin & in France & England, as well as 
soliciting work from other continents & cultures. Past 
fests incl. special events such as retrospectives, screenings 
of African-American & African music videos, special 
midnight film screenings of cult classics, series from 
Black film workshops in England. Black-oriented TV 
programs from Channel 4 in London & video marathons. 
Several directors of participating films attend for post- 
screening discussions. Held at Film Center of Art Institute 
of Chicago & DuSable Museum of African American 
History. Deadline: May 1 . Contact: Floyd Webb. Black- 
light. 10 E. Ontario. Suite 2202, Chicago. IL 60611: 
(312)988-7091. 

NISSAN FOCUS AWARDS. Aug. 28. CA. Several film 
industry cosponsors — among them Amblin Enter- 
tainment. Eastman Kodak. Dolby. Universal. John 
Badham's Great American Picture Show & Benihana — 
support nat*l student filmmaking & screenwriting 
competition. Other awards incl. Women in Film Foun- 
dation Award & Renee Valente Producers Award. 
Principal sponsor: Nissan Motor Corp. Over SI 00.000 
in automobiles, cash & prizes distributed in 9 cats. incl. 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser, director 
of the FIVF Festival Bureau. Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement & since 
some details change faster than we 
do, we recommend that you contact 
the festival for further information 
before sending prints or tapes. If your 
experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve 
our reliability. 



narrative, screenwriting, animation/experimental, sound 
achievement, film editing, doc. cinematography. 
Competition, now in 14th yr. open to 16mm films pro- 
duced noncommercial^ in conjunction w/ US 
educational institution, as well as feature-length 
screenplays. Winners flown to LA for week of informal 
seminars w/ FOCUS board members, film professionals 
& gala awards ceremony at Directors Guild Theatre. 
Several past winners have achieved commercial 
filmmaking success. FOCUS alsoexhibits w inning films 
at festivals, colleges, universities, museums & libraries. 
Work must have been completed in previous 2 yrs & not 
entered in previous FOCUS competitions. Entry fee: 
S15. Format: 16mm. Deadline: May 4 (postmark). 
Contact: Sam Katz. Nissan FOCUS Awards, 10 E. 34th 
St., New York. NY 10016: (212)779-0404. 

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 
(PHIL.AFILM). July 26-29. PA. About 100 films & 
videos programmed in fest in cats of feature, short, 
animation, experimental & superS. Also features section 
of works by Latina directors & program of films from 
Spain, particularly Catalonia. Industry workshops also 
planned, incl. digital & computer graphics for TV. 
Sponsored by Int'l Producers Assoc. Entry fee: $20- 
100. Format: 35mm. 16mm. 3/4". super 8. Deadline: 
Apr. 15. Contact: Varrell Henderson/Larry Small wood. 
Philadelphia International Film Festival. 121 N. Broad 
St.. #618. Philadelphia. PA 19107; (215) 977-2381. 

RIKER HILL FILM FESTIVAL, June 23. NJ. Debut yr of 
fest for independent, family-oriented short & feature- 
length films which tell a story, in all cats. Program to be 
shown in evening program at outdoor amphitheater in 
Livingston. Cash prizes & trophies aw arded. Sponsored 
by Essex County Dept. of Cultural Affairs & Riker Hill 
Art Park. Entry fee: S20. Format: 1 6mm. Deadline: May 
18. Contact: Bruce Paynter. Riker Hill Film Festival. 
Box 809. Montclair. NJ 07042; (201 ) 509-2036. 

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL 
FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. Apr. 21-23. CA. Student- 
run showcase for artists" cinema, particularly animated 
& experimental work. Cash prizes. Fest also accepts 
submission of proposals for film/video-sculptures & 
installations, multiple projections & multi-channel video 
work (include written proposal w/ entry form). Entry 
fee: S25. Format: 16mm. super 8. 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 



Mar. 19. Contact: SFAI Film Festival. 800 Chestnut St.. 
San Francisco, CA 94 133; (4 15) 77 1-7020 (Film Festival 
Office). 

s W ) K \\< IM O INTERNATIONAL LESBIAN & GAY 
FILM FESTIVAL, June 1 5-24, CA. Held annually during 
SF's Lesbian/Gay Freedom Celebration, competitive 
fest. now in 14th yr, is 1 of world's largest programs of 
its kind, bringing together feature, doc & short films & 
video works by & about lesbians & gay men. Awards 
presented tooutstanding works in several cats. Sponsored 
by Frameline, nonprofit media arts organization founded 
to develop & promote production, exhibition & 
appreciation of lesbian & gay film & video. Format: 
35mm, 16mm. super 8. 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 31. 
Contact: Frameline, Box 14792, San Francisco, CA 
941 14; (415) 861-5245: telex: 6503477919MCIUW. 

SINKING CREEK FILM CELEBRATION, June 9-16, 
TN. Last yr fest celebrated 20th anniversary as an 
important nat'l competition for student & ind. 16mm 
film & video & one of few major Southern showcases 
for ind. work. S8000 in cash awards go to winning 
entries; special awards incl. Hubley Animation Award, 
two $500 awards for feature works of special merit; two 
Asheville Cinematheque Awards of $150 ea. for 
excellence in doc & experimental works. Cats: Young 
film/videomaker (to age 18); college film/videomaker 
(undergrad/grad):ind. film/videomaker. HeldatVander- 
bilt Univ. in Nashville. Entry fees: $12-75, based on 
length. Format: 1 6mm. 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 20. Contact : 
Mary Jane Coleman, director, Sinking Creek Film 
Celebration, Creekside Farm. 1250 Shiloh Rd.. 
Greeneville, TN 37743: (615) 638-6524. 

SUFFOLK & NASSAU COUNTY FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, June. NY. Now in 7th yr. fest features both 
public screenings & cable broadcast for finalists & 
winners. Entries must be completed betwn May '81 & 
May '90. Cats: arts & entertainment (theatrical films, 
music video, experimental film/video art, animation, 
performing arts): sales & marketing (commercials, public 
relations): doc & education: student. Awards: $7000 in 
cash, scholarships, equipment, incl. Best of Fest Award 
of $ 1 000. WLIW Channel 2 1 Award of $500, Olympus 
Corp. Award, Viacom Cablevision Music Video Award 
& first place awards of $250 & plaque in ea. cat. 
Formats: 35mm. 16mm. super 8, 3/4". 1/2". Entry fee: 
$50-75 professional, depending on length: S25 student. 
Deadline: May 1 . Contact: Chris Cook. Suffolk County 
Film & Video Festival. Dennison Bldg.. 1 1 th fl.. Veterans 
Memorial Highway. Hauppauge. NY 1 1 788; (516) 360- 
4800. 

WORKS BY WOMEN FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. 

October. NY. 14th annual fest featuring diverse sample 
of ind. films & videos directed by women. Several 
participating film/videomakers speak at screenings of 
their works. Format: 16mm. 3/4". Deadline: Apr. 30. 
Contact: Christina Bickford. Works by Women Film & 
Video Festival. Dept. of Media Services. Barnard 
College. Columbia University. 3009 Broadway, New 
York. NY 10027-6598; (212) 854-2418. 



Foreign 



BARCELONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

July. Spain. Reorganized & refurbished in recent yrs. 
Barcelona now ranks as one of Spain 's top fests. attracting 
many directors, writers & film professionals. 6 sections 
incl. competitive section, offering Europa Prize of 
200,000 ECUS (about $250,000) to best feature-length 
Euro film for investment in future film by producer & 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



director of winning entry: Perspectives (recent worldwide 
productions); Encounters (monographic section — last 
yr dedicated to director/actors); Documents (featuring 
doc films); Hidden Treasures (films w/out wide 
distribution); Homages. Program also incl. symposium. 
Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: May 15. Contact: 
Festival de Cinema de Barcelona, Passeig de Gracia 47. 
3r 2a, 08007 Barcelona, Spain; tel: 215 2424; telex: 
99373 FESTB.E; fax: 215 2966. 

MIDNIGHT SUN FILM FESTIVAL, June, Finland. Sun 

never sets on world's northernmost festival, held for 5th 
yr in small municipality 80 miles north of Arctic Circle 
in Sodankyla, Lapland. Noncompetitive program 
arranged by filmmakers & enthusiasts intent on "creating 
a unique, friendly atmosphere for filmmakers & film 
lovers to meet." Films shown round the clock for 4 days, 
many in tent constructed for occasion. Audiences reached 
15,000 last yr. double town's population. 40-50 films 
shown annually, incl. retros of honorary guest film- 
makers. Selection of new films whose directors are 
invited, old & new Finnish films & special screenings, 
incl. silent classic accompanied w/ live music composed 
& performed by Finnish rock orchestra. Format: 35mm; 
preview on cassette (PAL or NTSC). Contact: Erkki 
Astala, executive dir.. Midnight Sun Film Festival, 
Vainamoisenkatu 19 A 4, SF-00100 Helsinki, Finland; 
tel: (358) 0498 366; telex: 125032 sesfi sf; fax: (358) 
498 661. 

TRENTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF 
MOUNTAINS, EXPLORATION & ADVENTURE, May 

27-June 2, Italy. 38th annual competitive fest for fiction 
& doc films. Cats: mountain films — contribute to 
knowledge & conservation of mountains; exploration 
films — broaden & examine discovery &/or study of 
territory, water & space, w/ view toward conservation; 
mountaineering, sport, adventure films — document 
human resources in action in natural environments. 
Work must be produced after 1987. Awards: Grand 
Prize: Gold Centian & 10 million lire; 2nd Prize-Silver 
Gentians & 5 million lire to best feature & best doc; 
other awards & cash prizes in various cats. All participants 
receive certificate of participation. Films & videos also 
shown in info section & out of competition. For feature 
films, fest may contribute to cost of Italian subtitles. 
Deadline: Apr. 20. Contact: Filmfestival Intemazionale 
Montagna, c/o Societa Spedizioni ST 1 -1-38 1 00 Trento, 
Italy; tel: (0461) 982744; fax: (0461) 237832. 

TROIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 8- 
17, Portugal. Held in Costa Azul, a tourist complex on 
Portuguese peninsula south of Lisbon, FIAPF-recognized 
fest for full-length films now celebrating 6th season. 
Festival sections incl. Competition (Official Section), 
Information, First Works, American Independents, Man 
& His Environment (doc & fiction) & film market. 
Competitive section dedicated to promoting films from 
countries w/ small cinema production of not more than 
20films/yr. Awards: Gold Dolphin (Grand Prize), Silver 
Dolphin, Bronze Dolphin. Work must be completed 
after June 1989. About 10 films from US accepted in 
various sections. Concurrent symposium on Film & TV 
in Southern Europe Before & After 1992 will attract 
leading media officials from Spain & Portugal & feature 
seminars on coproduction possibilities, quotas, video 
piracy & rights & advertising. Format: 35mm, 16mm; 
preview on 1/2". Deadline: Mar. 30. US contact: Thomas 
de La Cal, 500 E. 63rd St., #10D, New York, NY 10021; 
(212) 421-3099. Contact in Italy: Film Festival Troia, 
2902 Setubal Codex, Costa Azul, Portugal; tel: (65) 
44121; telex: 1 81 38P; fax: (65)44162. 



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MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



CLASSIFIEDS 



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KMSAL1 ktsi IWI/R4700U. 3/4" portable deck 
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K)K s U.E: Industrial camera/recorder. JVC KY-2000 
color camera; CR-4400L' 3/4" portable recorder: $2500 
or BO. Abo editing system. JVC RM-88U controller. 
JVC 66001" A S200U recorders: $2500 or BO. Doug 
Fivt (718) 937-7250. 

FOR SALE: Video prod, pkg JVC KY 2700 3-tube 
cameras 2bats + ac;BVU lOOw/tcmodule.portabrace 
case.2bats + ac;2AudioTecnicalavaliers; 1 Nakamichi 
shotgun: Shure M67 mixer; Miller fluid head tripod. 
Good condition. SI500 or bo. (718) 965-0268. 

» UYTKD TO Pl'RCHASE: Sony off-line edit system 
(5850. 5800. RM440. and accessories). Call Maureen at 

1 2 1 2 1 925-8750. 

FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing system. 2 BVU 950 
time code decks. 2 monitors. 6-channel audio mixer, 
various audio sources. Negotiable rates. Obenhaus Films 
(212)227-8366. 

WORLDS BEST 3/4" Editing System. Convergence 
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700 line resolution): BVW35 & BVW-505 also avail. 
Your choice of field production package comes w/ 
award-winning videographer. Toyota 4-Runner & 
competitive rates. Call Hal at (201 ) 662-7526. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER & soundperson to work on 
independent films. Alina & Vincent (718) 729-7481. 
Reel upon request. Long live independence! 

AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

looking for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 
capable full Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 

BETACAM or 3/4" SP location shooting as low as S300/ 



The Independent's Classifieds column 
includes all listings for "Buy • Rent • 
Sell," "Freelancers" & "Postpro- 
duction" categories. It is restricted to 
members only. Each entry has a 250 
character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be 
edited. Payment must be made at the 
time of submission. Anyone wishing 
to run a classified ad more than once 
must pay for each insertion & indicate 
the number of insertions on the 
submitted copy. Each classified ad must 
be typed, double-spaced & worded 
exactly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be 
respected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., March 8 for the May issue. 
Make check or money order — no cash, 
please— payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



day. Betacam and 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP editing with editor 
from S35/hr. Vega w ireless mic. and Motorola MX-350 
rental as low as $30/day. Call Michael at Electronic 
Visions (212) 691-0375. 

AWARD-WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 

8fps-75fpsw/ videotape looking forchallenging projects. 
Partial client list incl: ABC Sports. ESPN. IBM. LIRR. 
Pitney Bowes. Complete crews avail, including sound 
recorder & grip truck. Reasonable rates. Mike (718) 
352-1287. 

SHOOTING IN WASHINGTON DC? Well meet you w/ 
experienced, fully credentialed crew or produce from 
your script. Sony bdcst 3/4" SP or Betacam SP pkg. 8 Its. 

5 mics. News/doc/interviews in several languages. Good 
rates, happy clients. Accent Media (703) 356-9427. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER with Arri 16SR and lighting 
package: $750 a day. Ten years experience. Major 
awards. Excellent credits, including Smithsonian. 
National Geographic. 20/20. Call Len McClure at (301 ) 
299-7893. 

SHOOTING IN ASIA? See ad just above this one for a 
cameraman with years experience in Asia. Shot more 
than 20 films in China. Japan. Singapore. Hong Kong, 
etc. Lots of valuable contacts to help you. Call Len 
McClure at (301) 299-7893. 

TRANSCRIPTS or other word processing. Fast, accurate 

6 cheap. 100 wpm w/own IBM-compatible computer. 
S 1 5/hr or S 1 .50/page. Supply hard copy or floppy. Short 
notice OK. Will pick up & deliver. Kelly Anderson 
(718) 857-9239. References avail. 



FUNDRAISER/COPRODUCER WANTED by TV 
production company w/ numerous PBS credits. Salary 
neg. Position is for imaginative environmentally related 
project. Resume to: Ideal Communications, 1026 6th 
Avenue, 5th fl.. New York, NY 10018: (212) 768-1600. 

CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR YOl'R FILM? Call Dana 

Richardson (516) 599- 1 5 1 3 (noon-9pm). Flexible rates. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for new 
documentary or dramatic projects. 1 1 years experience. 
35mm, 16mm, and broadcast video. Richard Chisolm 
(301)467-2997. 

NO-BUDGET SUPER 8 comedy-fantasy feature in the 
works. Hard work and, alas, deferred payment. Idea is to 
push this harder-than-35mm format to new professional 
highs. So, talented cinematographer... write! (No tapes). 
Soundperson. too. GAGA, Box 8218, Jackson Heights, 
NY 11372. 

NEED TITLES for your 16mm independent or student 
film? Let Cinerose Productions take care of it for you. 
Clear, beautiful titles from design through shooting, 
wide choice of type faces. The lowest rates around. Fast 
turnaround time. Call Liz at (718) 622-2158. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/OPERATOR w/ 

feature film (5) credits. Self-owned 35mm. 16mm. Film 
cameras (w/ videotape). 50 kilowatt lighting/power/ 
grip pkg, sync sound/video recording/playback system. 
Lowest rates in Tri-State! (201) 798-8467. 

AATON PKG w/ assistant camera. 3 mags, Cooke 9-50, 
Ang. 12-120, Zeiss 8. 2 bans, eye piece X, zoom motor, 
Sachtler Video 20. Hi-hat. barney, filters, crystal 24, 25, 
29.97 fps. I am accurate, fast & experienced w/doc. rock 
video & feature prod. Sam (718) 636-5061. 

SOUNDMAN w/ audio gear & good attitude available for 
film & video prods. Call for resume and rates. Claudio 
(212)664-8009. 



Postproduction 



NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm. super 16. 35mm. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch. Chris Choy . Renee Tajima. 
Bruce Weber & Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at 
reasonable rates. One White Glove. Tim Brennan. 321 
W. 44th St., #411, New York. NY 10036: (212) 265- 
0787. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND Film Services. All S/8 
production, postprod.. editing, sync sound, sound mix, 
multi-track, single & double system sound editing, 
transfers, stills, etc. Send SASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
Creston, 727 6th Ave.. NY, NY 1 001 0; (2 1 2) 924-4893. 

SOUND TRANSFERS: Convenient downtown location, 
FX library, digital sampling, transfers from & to 16/ 
35mm. 1/4" mono & stereo (w/ SMPTE). cassette. CD. 
DAT & mini Nagra SN. Best rates (212) 255-8698. 

16MM FLATBEDS FOR RENT: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212)873-4470. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities. 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

SUPER 8 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correction 
w/ CCD telecine. Sony color corrector w/ hue. phase. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 



MVf 



Ej 







diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



7 ' > yj. \ 



fv'-!N' 




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oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

$45 /year individual (in US & Puerto Rico) 
I I (Add $12 for first class mailing) 

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LJ $60/year library (subscription only) 

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Mexico), surface rate 
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gamma comp, neg-pos reverse, b&w tinting, letterboxing 
& Dolby stereo. Beautiful results @ 1 le/foot to Sony 
Pro-X 1/2" VHS. $35/min + stock. Gerard Yates (203) 
359-8992. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access in secure, convenient building on both East 
& West side of Manhattan. Reasonable rates. (718) 997- 
6715. 

COUNTRY VIDEO BED & BREAKFAST: 3/4 SP off- 
line system. Time Code reading/generating unit. 
Surrounded by acres of state forest. Enjoy country 
living, sauna, international hospitality & low rates. Log 
Country Inn, Box 581, Ithaca, NY 14851; (607) 589- 
4771. 

3/4" OFF-LINE EDITING ROOM. BVU Time Code 
decks, 2 monitors, 6-channel audio mixer, various audio 
sources. Housed in Lower Manhattan production 
company with 7 day, 24 hour access. Daily or weekly; 
negotiable rates. Obenhaus Films, (212) 227-8366. 

FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing room (brand new Sony 
5850, 5800, RM440). Very reasonable rates, convenient 
midtown location in suite w/ other filmmakers. Xerox & 
fax available. Call Jane at (2 1 2) 929-4795 or Deborah at 
226-2579. 

MOVIOLA M-77 6-plate flatbed with bin, splicer, and 
extras. Excellent condition. $5,200. (212) 873-4470. 

FOR RENT: VHS off-line editing room (JVC BR-8600 
U, 6400 U & RM-86U, including 2-Panasonic monitors). 
Convenient midtown location in suite w/ other 
filmmakers. Xerox & fax avail. $400/wk. Editor avail, 
fee negotiable. (212) 563-2370. 

UPTOWN EDIT: fully equipped 16mm editing rooms 
with 6-plate and 8-plate Steenbecks. 24 hour access. 
Best rates in town, student discounts. West 86th Street. 
(212)580-2075. 

POST ON THE COAST: Relaxed time-code editing in 
Maine, hassle free, multi-format (3/4" SP & 1/2", incl. 
SEG, freezes, Chyron, camera), software based A/B 
system w/ edit list generation. Cuts only as low as $20/ 
hr. AIVF discount. Editing never had it so good! 
Expanded Video (207) 773-7005. 

S-VHS, 1/2" VHS industrial editing decks for rough cuts 
and dubs. Also, Alta Cygnus TBC with special effects & 
Amiga computer with graphics capability. $15/hr. 
Private, quiet facility in Greenwich Village. Call Bob 
(212)473-7462. 



MOVING ? 

LET US KNOW. 

IT TAKES FOUR TO SIX 

WEEKS TO PROCESS A 

CHANGE OF ADDRESS, SO 

PLEASE NOTIFY US IN 

ADVANCE. 



^5" 



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FILM SOURCES 



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Specialists in Entertainment Insurance 



New York : 

Jolyon F. Stern, President 
Carol A. Bressi, Manager 
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New York, NY 10170-0199 
212-867-3550 Telex: 886142 

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Jerry VandeSande 
Bill Hudson 
11365 Ventura Blvd. 
Studio City, CA 91604 
818-763-9365 

AFFILIATES 
LONDON • PARIS • MUNICH 



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100% COMPONENT VIDEO IMAGING (BETACAM SP) 

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AUDIO FOLLOW VIDEO (SOUNDCRAFT200B/VE) 

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THE INDEPENDENT 39 



COMPLETE 

POST-PRODUCTION 

FACILITIES 

• Betacam SP A/B to 1" - $175/hr. 
3/4' A/B to 3/4' • $60/hr. 

. Additional Equipment: Abekas 
A53-D chyron scribe 

• 16mm film to tape transfers to 
any video format: 

Single System - $60 per 1/2 hr. 
Double system - $75 per 1/2 hr. 
T.C. window also available 
Ikegami 79D/95B from 
$260 per Day 

SPECIAL RATES FOR 

INDEPENDENT 

PRODUCERS 

25% Discount 

Call (212) 997-1464 for more 
information 



RG VIDEO 

21 West 46th Street 

New York, NY 10036 



INSURANCE 

LIKE FILM. LITERATURE & MUSIC 
IS AN ART 




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320 WEST 57 ST 

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Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., March 8 for the May issue. 
Send to: Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 1 00 1 2. 

Conferences ■ Workshops 

ACCESS TO THE ARTS: A Right. Not a Privilege 
conference on special constitutency issues sponsored by 
the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation w/ the National 
Endowment for the Arts & MidAtlantic State Arts 
Agencies. July 9-10. Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. Metro 
Center. Washington. D.C. Will educate participants in 
w ays to make their orgs more accessible to disabled & 
older people. Reps from state arts agencies, regional 
orgs, local arts agencies & arts service orgs encouraged 
to attend. Contact: Trudi Ludw ig. Conf. Dir.. MidAtlantic 
Arts Fnd.. 1 1 E. Chase St.. Ste. 2A. Baltimore, MD 
21202: tel: (301) 539-6656: fax: (301) 837-5517. 

BOSTON FILM VIDEO FOUNDATION Workshops: 

How to Org. a Media Prod.. Mar. 1 0; Using the Waveform 
Monitor & Vectorscope. Mar. 10: How Video Cameras 
Work. Mar. 13-15; Creative Graphics on the Video 
Paint System. Mar. 13. 14. 15 & 27 w/ tutorials Mar. 17 
& 18; Intro to MIDI & Multi-trk Recording. Mar. 15, 22 
& 29 or Mar. 1 7 & 24: Lighting Techniques. Mar. 3 1 & 
Apr. 7. Workshops held at BF/VF except Uighting 
Techniques to be held at Somerville Communitv Access 
TV. Contact: BF/VF. 1 126 Boylston St.. Boston. MA 
02215; (617) 536-1540. 

COMMUNITY FILM WORKSHOP offers workshops in 
Proposal Writing. March 24 (S20/S10 CFW members). 
and Advanced Editing. March 31 (S65/S50 CFW 
members). Contact: Carolyn Glassman. Community 
Film Workshop. 1130 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 400. 
Chiago. IU 60605: (312)427-1245. 

FILM ARTS FOUNDATION Workshops: Lighting 
Intensives: Interviewing People & Dramatic Scenes. 
Mar. 10 (People). Mar. 11 (Dramatic); Beginning Sound 
Editing. Mar. 15-Apr. 5; Off-Line Video Editing. Mar. 
17: Professionals in Film: European Filmmaker Robert 
Tutak. "Sensuality of Filmmaking Based on European 
Models." Mar. 20: 2-D Animation. Mar. 22-May 17; 
Sound Intensive II: Postprod. Audio Basics. Mar. 24 & 
25. Contact: FAF. 346 Ninth St.. 2/fl. San Francisco. CA 
94103; (415) 552-8760. 

FILM VIDEO ARTS Courses & Workshops: 16mm Film 
Prod. II. Apr. 10-June 26: Arri SR Workshop. Apr. 28 & 
29: Independent TV Service. May 14: Myth & the 



Moving Image. Apr. 1 1 -June 6; Prod. Mgmt. I, Mar. 1 5- 
Ma> I; Prod. Mgmt. II. May 10-June 28; Grantwriting, 
May 5 & 1 2; Location Sound Recording. Mar. 1 3-Apr. 
3; Complete B.Y.O. Camcorder. Mar. 22-26; Video 
Cameras I, Apr. 21 & 22; Video Cameras II. Mar. 14- 
Apr. 4 or May 19 & 20: On-Line Editing w/ Standby 
Program, May 7; Time Code Basics. Apr. 14; Intro to 3/ 
4" Video Editing. Mar. 17 & 18; Advanced 3/4" Video 
Editing. Mar. 3 & 4, Mar. 24 & 25; Sandin Image 
Processor. Apr. 12: Digital Effects Overview, Mar. 17 & 
1 8 or May 26 & 27; Creating Amiga Titles for Video II, 
Ma) 8 & 15; Intro to Digital Effects, Apr. 16-May 21. 
Contact: F/VA. 817 Broad* a> . Neu York. NY 10003- 
4797; (212) 673-9361. 

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MEDIA ARTS CENTERS 

1 0th Anniversary Conf. "The Unblinking Eye: Affecting 
Change in The 90' s." May 17-20, Boston. MA. Pre- 
registration: S75/members. S 1 25/nonmembers; on-site: 
SlOO/members. S150/nonmembers. Day rate: $30/ 
members. S40/nonmembers. Subject to availability. 
Conf. limited to 300 regs. Contact: Bridget Mumane, 
ICA; (617) 266-5152. 

SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS & AMERICAN FILM 
INSTITUTE cosponsoring all-day workshops on Writing 
TV Sitcoms and Inspiration Factor: A Workshop for 
Directors and Actors, both on Mar. 17 & 18. Held at 
SVA, 209 E. 23 St.. New York. NY. For registration & 
info., contact: AFI. 1 (800) 999-4AFI. 

YELLOWSTONE MEDIA ARTS 1990 Summer Work- 
shops: June 1 1-July 13. Series of 1 & 2 wk workshops 
w/ lectures, discussions, exercises & screenings, incl. 
Soviet Cinema & TV. Native Amer. Film/Video, 
Women's Fact/Women's Fiction. Script Writing, 
Directing. & Animation. Contact: Paul Monaco, Dept. 
of Media & Theatre Arts. Montana State Univ., Bozeman. 
MT 59717: (406) 994-6224. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

ARTS FESTIVAL OF ATLANTA seeks video an for 
exhibit to be held in Piedmont Park, midtown Atlanta. 
Sept. 15-23. Video exhibit juried by John Hanhardt. 
curator of film & video at Whitney Museum, will 
examine political, social & environmental issues present 
in art work today. Deadline: Mar. 1. Contact: Arts 
Festival of Atlanta. 501 Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, GA 
30308: (404) 885-1 125. 

CABLEVISIONS: New public access series cablecast in 
metro New York & Long Island seeks student-produced 
video. Contact: Mario Chioldi. Middle College H.S., 
LaGuardia Community College. 31-10 Thomson Ave., 
Long Island City. NY 11101: (718) 482-5440. 

CINEMA GUILD seeks distribution rights on new films 
& videos. Send descriptive infoorpreview VHScassettes. 
or write/phone for copy of Distribution Sen ices Brochure 
to: Gary Crow dus. Cinema Guild. 1 697 Broadway, New 
York. NY 10019; tel: (212) 246-5522. fax: (212) 246- 
5525. 

CROSS PRODUCTIONS: Programming agency for 
Italian TV wants to purchase new titles from U.S. 
Specifically unusual news/current events/trends-oriented 
pieces of up to 60 min. Emphasis on films & videos 
which address extremely current topics. Broadcast- 
quality technical standards are imperative. Contact: 
Cross Prods., c/o FIVF: or call (212) 941-8389. 

NEW DAY FILMS: Self-distribution coop for independent 
producers seeks new members w/ recent social issue 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



docs. Also progressive films for young people. Deadline: 
April 1, 1990. Contact: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond 
Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 

REEL TALK seeks publicity materials from film & 
video artists avail, for interviews on new 30 min. radio 
show hosted by Wendy Braitman. Airs Sundays, noon 
on KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco. Contact: Michael 
Ehrenzweig, EBS Prods., 330 Ritch St., San Francisco. 
CA 94107; (415) 495-2327. 

SELECT MEDIA is currently seeking health & social 
issue films & videos for children & young adults. Esp. 
interested in culturally specific materials. Submit 1/2" 
or 3/4" tapes & any supporting materials to: Acquisitions 
Dept., Select Media, 74 Varick St., Ste. 305, New York, 
NY 10013; (212)431-8923. 

SHORT FILMS WANTED for 3-vol. home video release 
of award-winning shorts. Must have won recognized 
award or honor, 40 min. or less. Large home video 
releasing co. will market project nationally to retail 
video outlets. Royalties to be divided equally among all 
contributing filmmakers. Do not send tapes. Send all 
pertinent info, incl. synopsis & bio to: Joe Berlinger, 
Creative Thinking Int'l, Box 256, Prince Sta., New 
York, NY 10012. 

SUBMIT FILMS & VIDEOS for possible screening in 
continuing exhibition of works by Black filmmakers. 
All genres — personal, doc, etc. Formats: 1 6mm & super 
8, silent/sound, 3/4" & 1/2". Send works to: Toney 
Merritt, Black Experiments in Film, c/o San Francisco 
Cinematheque, 480 Potrero Ave., San Francisco, CA 
941 10. Include personal statement/production stills. 

Opportunities ■ Gigs 

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE seeks competition 
coordinator to coord. & supervise 4-5 annual TV/video 
competitions & awards. Duties incl. supervise publicity, 
contacting & securing judges, reviewing entries, 
correspondence, ads, prod, of brochures/entry forms, 
coord, awards ceremonies. Must have exc. com- 
munication & org. skills; background in TV/video/film 
criticism & history preferred. All benefits, F-T, EOE. 
Send resume, cover letter & salary history to: AFI, 202 1 
N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027, Attn: 
Personnel/CC. 

ITHACA COLLEGE: Tenure-eligible position avail, in 
Cinema & Photography Dept., Park Sch. of Commun- 
ications, beg. Aug. 15. Successful candidate must be a 
practicing filmmaker able to teach Intro & Intermediary 
16mm film prod. & develop courses in areas of his/her 
specialization. Ph.D., ABD, or MFA required. Send 
resume & statement of interest incl. areas of teaching & 
prof, experience to: Gustav Landen, Chair, Cinema 
Search Comm., Dept. of Cinema & Photography. Park 
Sch. of Communications, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 
14850. 

UNIVERSITY OFTEXASAT ARLINGTON: Asst./Assoc. 

Prof, of TV/video tenure trk position avail. Teach 3 
courses per semester & independent study projects. 
Primarily revise & develop undergraduate curriculum in 
Art Dept. & supervise video prod, for broadcast. Beg. 
Sept. Deadline: Apr. 16. Send letter ofappL.vitae, tapes, 
reviews & articles, catalogues, names of 3 refs & S ASE 
to: Larry Travis, Acting Chair, Dept. of Art, Box 1 9089, 
Univ. of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019. 

JUST US PRODUCTIONS: Attention Denver, Boulder 
& Rocky Mtn. Region. Newly formed prod. co. seeks 



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MARCH 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 41 




FOX/LORBER 

is acquiring 

independent features 

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territories. 

Contact: Liz Empleton 
FOX/LORBER Associates, Inc. 

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Animation and Titling; 3/4" 

Transfer; Complete 8-Track 

Recording System; and More. 

£j Designed for Comfort 
All for Only $15.00 an Hour 

J5 Call about subsidized studio 

time for artist projects, funded by 

New York State Council on the Arts 



Bv Train: 
2,3,4,5,A,C,F,M,N,R,G,B,D,Q,LIRR 

MARGOLIS/ BROWN ADAPTOR'S 
397 Bridge Street 
Brooklyn,New York 11201 
(718)797-3930 or (212)727-0157 



collaborators incl. 1 6mm & videocamera, grants writers 
& prod, crew for variety of projects. Environmental 
i^ues are high priority, also social satire. Currently 
developing script for short Toxic Rabbit. Submit relevant 
info to: Just Us Prods. Box 36386. Denver, CO 80236. 

LATINO COLLABORATIVE seeks FT Executive 
Director. Fundraising. budgeting & reporting, coord, 
programs & services, membership recruitment. Must 
have 1-3 yrs related exp, preferably in nonprofits. Must 
be bilingual (Spanish-English) w/ good writing & 
communication skills, computer literate. Salary: $20- 
25K commensurate w/ experience. Send resumes to: 
Alfredo Bejar, Latino Collaborative. 280 Broadway, 
Ste. 412, New York, NY 10007: (212) 732-1 121. 

Publications 

ARTISTS - TAX WORKBOOK by Carla Messman 
updated for 1 990. Comprehensive tax preparation guide 
for artists & self-employed professionals. Price: SI 6.95 
plus $1.50 shipping & handling (MN residents add 
$1.02 sales tax). Discount rates for bulk orders by 
nonprofits avail. Contact: Resources & Counseling, 429 
Landmark Ctr.. "75 W. 5th St.. St. Paul. MN 55 102; (612) 
292-4381. 

CALIFORNIA LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS sells books 
on finance & legal issues for artists. For booklist, contact: 
CLA, Fort Mason Ctr. Bldg. C. San Francisco, CA 
94123. 

LIES OF OCR TIMES: A Journal to Correct the Record, 
produced by the Institute for Media Analysis, edited by 
Edward S. Herman & William Preston, Jr. Periodical 
devoted to analysis of misinformation, disinformation 
& propaganda in major U.S. media. 12 monthly issues: 
S24/yr. Lies of Our Times. Sheridan Sq. Press, 145 W. 
4th St.. New York, NY 10012. 

THE VIDEO PROJECT Films & Videos for a Safe & 
Sustainable World: 1990 Catalog features 25 new 
programs on the USSR. El Salvador, environmental & 
nuclear issues, the military'. CIA & others. Contact: The 
Video Project, 5332 College Ave.. Ste. 101. Oakland, 
CA 94618: (415) 655-9050. 

Resources ■ Funds 

APPARATUS PRODUCTIONS provides grants of $1- 
5.000 to short films by emerging filmmakers that explore 
alternative approaches to narrative & challenge 
traditional readings of history & culture. Majority of 
grant money earmarked for NYS residents. Contact: 
Apparatus Prods. 225 Lafayette St.. Ste. 507, New York, 
NY 10012; (212) 219-1990. 

ACM SIGGRAPH offers conference grants to computer 
graphics educators in initiating, updating, or 
strengthening computer graphics courses or programs. 
Also limited number of aw ards to minority institutions. 
Directed to those who teach or support computer graphics 
education in any discipline, incl. arts, computer science 
& engineering. Each grant provides full participation in 
SIGGRAPH '90. to be held in Dallas. TX. Aug. 6-10. 
Deadline: postmark by Apr. 2. Contact: G. Scott Owen. 
Mathematics & Computer Science. Georgia State Univ., 
Atlanta. GA 30303; (404) 651-2247. 

CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION Postproduction 
Video Grants deadline: March 30. 2-4 grants of $5- 
1 0.000 aw arded to NYS artists working in video. Contact: 
Checkerboard Fnd., c/o Media Alliance. WNET. 356 
W. 58th St.. New York. NY 10019. 



CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING Open 
Solicitation for TV Program Fund deadline: Sept. 14. 
Contact: CPB TV Program Fund, 1 1 1 l-16th St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955-5134. 

CULTURAL COUNCIL FOUNDATION: Free 1 hr& low 
cost ($75 for up to 4 hrs) clinics for New York City 
nonprofit arts orgs provided by CCF's staff. 
Consultancies in arts mgmt., gov't & private funding. 
Contact: Program Asst., CCF, 625 Broadway. New 
York. NY 10012; (212) 473-5660. 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CTR's Electronic Arts Grant 
Program provides finishing funds of up to $500 to NYS 
artists for completion of audio or videotapes, computer- 
based sound or image works & exhibition, plus small 
number of research projects aimed at advancing 
electronic arts. 3 appl. cycles/yr. Also, presentation 
funds to NYS nonprofits to assist w/ presentation of 
audio, video & related electronic art. 4 review cycles/yr. 
Contact: Experimental TV Ctr., 180 Front St., Owego, 
NY 13827; (607) 687-4341. 

LONG BEACH MUSEUM OF ART Video Annex Open 
Channels Grants deadline: Mar. 15. Contact: LBMA, 
5373 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, CA 90803. 

MULTI-SITE COLLABORATIONS PROGRAM supports 
collaborative projects among artists' orgs throughout 
U.S. Grants of $5-25.000 to selected projects completed 
by Sept. 30. 1 99 1 . submitted on behalf of 2 or more arts 
orgs, 1 of which must be an artists' org. & full NAAO 
member. Program will not fund individual or completed 
projects. Deadline: May 1. Contact: NAAO. 918 F St, 
NW, Washington. DC 20004; (202) 347-6350. 

NAMAC MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE GRANTS: At 

least 9 technical assistance grants of S4.000, for hands- 
on management expertise & training projects beginning 
in June & completed by April 1991. Any nonprofit 
media organization eligible, except last year's aw ardees 
& recipients of NEA Challenge/Advancement grants. 
Deadline: Apr. 6. For appl.. write: NAMAC, 480 Potrero 
Ave.. San Francisco. CA 94110; for info, call: (415) 
861-0202. 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES 

Projects in Media deadline: Mar. 16. Contact: James 
Dougherty. NEH, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 
Washington, DC 20506; (202) 786-0278. 

NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM membership appl. 
deadlines: Mar. 1 & Aug. 1. Contact: NYWIF, 274 
Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 679-0898. 

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS Electronic 

Media & Film Program and all other disciplines provides 
support to artists & arts organizations. Deadline: Mar. 1 
postmark. Contact: NYSCA, 9 1 5 Broadway. New York, 
NY 10010; (212) 614-3995. 

1990 INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION FUND South 
Central region awards grants of up to $5,000. NEA/AFI- 
sponsored regional fellowship program for media artists 
living in AK, MO. KS, NB, OK. PR, TX & U.S. Virgin 
Islands. Deadline: May 1. Contact: SWAMP. 1519 W. 
Main, Houston, TX 77006; (713) 522-8592. 

RHODE ISLAND STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 

Individual Artists Support for Artist Development Grants. 
Artist Fellow ships & AIE Artist Roster: Apr. 1 . Contact: 
RISCA. 95 Cedar St.. Ste. 103, Providence. RI 02903. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



MINUTES 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 

mail order source of books and audiotapes on 
independent film and video in the country. The 
board also heard that FIVF will publish the AIVF 
membership directory and a book on distribution 
in early 1990. 

Martha Gever, editor of The Independent, re- 
ported to the board on design and editorial changes 
being instituted to make AIVF/FIVF's monthly 
journal livelier and more readable. 

Finally, Sapadin reported on the start-up of the 
Independent Television Service (ITVS). The new 
service, authorized by Congress in 1988 legisla- 
tion and fought for by AIVF and independents 
nationwide, will be based in New York City. It 
will fund independent work for magazine and 
thematic series as well as individual programs 
from a general production fund. Sapadin is chair 
of the ITVS board of directors. ITVS is hiring a 
search firm to find an executive director to the 
board and preparing information for distribution 
to the independent media field. Production funds 
are expected to become available sometime this 
summer The board also expressed a strong inter- 
est that AIVF provide leadership in the media arts 
community on issues relating to the NEA. 

The next board meeting is scheduled for March 
24, 1990, at 10 a.m. at AIVF's offices. AIVF 
members are encouraged to attend. Call to con- 
firm date, time, and location. 



AIVF REGIONAL 
CORRESPONDENTS 

AIVF has instituted a network of regional corre- 
spondents, who will provide membership infor- 
mation, hold meetings, and aid recruitment in 
areas of the country outside New York City. AIVF 
Members are urged to contact them about AIVF- 
related needs and problems, about your activities, 
and other relevant information and news: 

Howard Aaron, associate director, Northwest Film and 
Video Center, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., Portland, OR 
97205; (503) 221-1 156 

Joyce Bolinger, 3755 N. Bosworth St., Chicago, IL 
60613; (312) 929-7058 

Cheryl Chisolm, 2844 Engle Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 
30318; (404)792-2167 

Deanna Morse, School of Communication, Grand 
Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401; (616) 
895-3101 



AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS 

Eugene Aieinikoff,* Skip Slwmberg (vice president), 
Christine Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), toni Ding, 
Lisa Frigcmd,* Dai Si! Kim-Gibson {choir}, Tom 
Luday,* lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter (president), 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* 
Deborah Shaffer, jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, John 
Taylor Williams, * Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 
* FtW Board of Directors only 



CORRECTIONS 

The December issue of The Independent included 
an article on fiscal agents and taxes but did not 
include an address for the Fiscal Agentry Re- 
search Project. The project is seeking information 
on the tax experiences of media artists who have 
worked with a fiscal agent. If you can help with 
this research, write: L. Wade Black, Bozart 
Mountain/Jade Films. 704 Kingman Road, Bir- 
mingham, AL 35235, or call: (205) 836-8052. 

STAFF NEWS AT AIVF 

Members who have visited the AIVF office might 
have noticed several new faces. Joining us in 
January was Carol Selton, the new adminstrative 
assistant and a recent graduate of Dartmouth 
College's history department. She replaces Mary 
Jane Skalski, who in December assumed the du- 
ties of Membership Director, replacing Ethan 
Young, who has moved on to other endeavors. We 
wish him the best of luck, as we do Andy Moore, 
the former advertising director of The Indepen- 
dent, who returned to his home state of California. 
The new advertising director is Laura D. Davis, 
who invites calls from readers formulating adver- 
tising plans for 1990. Welcome all! 

AIVF bids a fond farewell to Sol Horwitz, 
project administrator of Short Film Showcase 
who retired last October. We wish him the best in 
his new home in Florida. 



kW™ 




Help Yourself. Join AIVF today! 



VIDEO POST PRODUCTION 



VID€OG€NIX 

212-925-0445 

503-511 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10012 





MARCH 1990 



The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



MEMORANDA 



[ARY OF THE MINUTES OFlTHE AIVF/FIVF 
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING 



Ai its meeting on January 6. 1 WO, the AIVF/FIVF 
board of directors created a temporary committee 
to help make recommendations on restructuring 
the FIVF Donor-Advised Film and Video Fund. 
The Benton Foundation has given FIVF a small 
grant to research the feasibility of greater coop- 
eration between indpendent producers and non- 
profit organizations. The research, to be con- 
ducted by project administrator Barbara Abrash, 
will be the basis for recommendations by FIVF 
to the Benton Foundation board of directors in 
March. The FIVF board committee will advise 



Abrash in her research. 

A board committee will also develop recom- 
mendations to the Screen Actors' Guild forchanges 
in its special agreement for very low-budget proj- 
ects. SAG wants changes to curb abuses by strictly 
commercial projects seeking the favorable terms 
of the Independent Producer Limited Exhibition 
Agreement. The original agreement resulted from 
meetings between SAG and AIVF representa- 
tives several years ago. 

High on the board's priorities is membership 
development. The board welcomed plans submit- 



ted by newly promoted membership director Mary 
Jane Skalski. A board committee had some rec- 
ommendations of its own, but decided to give 
Skalski an opportunity to implement her ideas 
before recommending major changes in AIVF's 
approach to membership development. 

In the area of member services, AIVF execu- 
tive director Lawrence Sapadin announced that 
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Founda- 
tion awarded FIVF a grant of $25,000 to expand 
its publication projects. FIVF is now the largest 
CONTINUED ON PAGE 43 



MEMBERABILIA 

Kudos to recipients of the New York State Council on 
the Arts Individual Artists Media Production Awards. 
AIVF members are: Jerri Allyn & Helen Thorington, 
Angels Have Been Sent to Me; Burt Ban, The Pool; Joan 
Braderman. The Incredible Shrinking Citizen; Maxi 
Cohen. How Much Is Really True'l; Juan Downey . Hard 
Times & Culture; Aimee Evans & Carole Saft, Shared 
Ground; Paul Garrin, By Any Means Necessary; Annie 
Goldson & Chris Bratton, Countertenor, Alex Hahn. 
The Kircher Itinerary; Joan Jubela, Portraits of Gay & 
Lesbian Teenagers; Ken Kobland, Radio/Video; Joan 
Logue, Video Portrait Gallery; David Shulman, 
Everyone's Channel; Shelly Silver. The Houses That 
Are Left; Mierle Ukeles, Media Flow Wall; Edin Velez. 
Signal to Noise. 

Congrats to AIVF member recipients of NYSCA 
Film Production Awards: Ralph Arlyck. Current 
Events; Skip Battaglia. Restlessness; Alan Berliner, 
Unfinished Business; Camille Billops, Finding Christa; 
Anne Bohlen, Kevin Rafferty & James Ridgeway . Blood 
in the Face; Bill Brand. Home Less Home; Emily Breer. 
NoNon Seq; Shu Lea Cheang, For Whom the Air Waves; 
Gordon Erikson & Heather Johnston, Ain't Nobody; 
Holly Fisher, Unorganized Territory; Sonya Friedman, 
Song of the Lark; Su Freidrich, Happy New Year; Ma- 
rina Gonzales, Songs My Father Taught Me; Sally 



Heckel. Unspeakable; Peter Hutton. Landscape Pt. II; 
Daresha Kyi, Counting the Ways; Sheila McLaughlin. 
Fat Girls from Hell; Gini Reticker & Amber Holli- 
baugh. Women & Children Last; David Russell, Hair- 
way to the Stars; Deborah Shaffer, Dance of Hope; 
Leslie Thornton, The End of Everything; Karen Thorsen, 
James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket. 

Two grants from the New York Council for the 
Humanities went to AIVF members Stephen Brier, for 
Immigrant Women in Turn of the Century New York, and 
Marlina Gonzalez, for an Asian film series and accom- 
panying panel discussions. Congrats! 

The Community Film Workshop awarded 12 Build 
Illinois Filmmakers Grants, including Jeffrey Domm, 
Captive Animals; Carolyn Glassman, Prospekt Mira; 
Andrea Leland, Jump UplMix Up; Mark Mamalakis, 
The Art of Alejandro Romero; Katherin Nero, The Choice; 
Loretta Smith. Ron Kovic & the American Dream & 
Diane V/eyermann. Dead Silence Screams. Congratula- 
tions! 

Gina Lamb was named a winner of the Long Beach 
Museum of Art Video Access Program aw ards for her 
piece, Short Documentary. Congrats! 

Kudos to Robert Richter ( Who Shot President Ken- 
nedy?) and Bruce Weber (Let's Get Lost) for being 
awarded the 1989 Distinguished Documentary 
Achievement Award from the International Documen- 
tary Association. 



IN PRODUCTION 



Program I 

Political Documentaries 

March 23, 1990 

7:00 p.m. 



Works by 
Paul Garrin 
Noreen Ash Mackay 
Camila Motta 
Barry Ellsworth 



Program U Works by 
Poetic Portraits Jem Cohen 
April 20, 1990 Tom Donley 
7*0 p-m. Webster Lewin 
Eva Schicker 

Presented at Downtown Community Television. 87 Lafayette 
S2 AIVF members/S3 non-members 



A monthly works-in-progress screening of 

NYFA-sponsored film and video artists. Co-sponsored 

by Downtown Community Television and the 

Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers 



For more information 



DCIV at (212) 966-4510. or AIVF at (212) 473-3400 



Congrats to Kelley Baker, who will recieve a Pio- 
neer Fund Grant for his documentary No Past Tense 
Permitted. 

Intermedia Arts Media Production Award win- 
ners include member Fay Torresyap for Synchronicity. 
Congrats! 

Mary Ann Lynch earned a Silver Plaque at the 
Chicago Int'l Film Festival for Z,yn Lifshin: Not Made 
of Glass. Kim Smith is another winner at the Chicago 
festival, where she won a Certificate of Merit for heart- 
Beat. Congratulations to both! 

Congrats to Nina Menkes, a recipient of the 1989 
Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship for 
Queen of Diamonds. 

AIVF member Tina DeFeliciantonio has earned a 
National Emmy Award for Outstanding News & Docu- 
mentary Programs for Living with Aids. Kudos! 

Independent editor Martha Gever was recently 
awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award, presented 
by the College An Association for distinction in art 
criticism. 



AIVF members interested in having their recent grants 
and major awards listed in "Memberabilia" should 
send information to: AIVF. 625 Broadway. 9th fl.. New 
York. NY 10012. attn: Memberabilia. 



AIVF ANNUAL 
MEMBERSHIP MEETING 

Sunday, March 25, 1990 
Place and time to be announced. 

This annual get-together is a great opportunity 
to meet other AIVF members, be brought up to 
date on AIVF activities, voice your concerns 
and questions, place nominations to the board 
of directors, and have a good time. Also, AIVF 
members will have the opportunity to meet the 
ITVS board of directors, who will fill you in on 
the ITVS' latest developments. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1990 



Nissan 

Presents 

FOCUS. 

The 

Fourteenth 

Annual 

Student 

Film 

Awards. 

Call For 
Entries. 

This is your chance 
of a lifetime to make 
your break, win 
your share of over 
$100,000 in cash 
prizes and Nissan 
automobiles and 
gain recognition in 
the film community. 

Enter your best 
work now! The 
entry you submit 
must have been 
produced on a non- 
commercial basis 
while you were 
enrolled in a U.S. 
college, university, 
art institute or 
film school. 








Nissan Presents 



Narrative film 

Finished 16mm film. 
$4,500 awarded in cash 
prizes. First-place winner 
receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. Sponsored by 
Amblin Entertainment. 
Board of Judges: Lewis 
Allen. Joe Dante, Nina 
Foch, Randal Kleiser, 
Lynne Littman. 






DOCUMENTARY 
FILM Finished 16mm 
film. $4,500 awarded in 
cash prizes. First-place 
winner receives a new 
Nissan Sentra. Sponsored 
by Eastman Kodak 
Company. Board 
of Judges: Saul Bass. 
Lance Bird. Karen 
Goodman, Marjorie 
Hunt, Humberto Rivera. 

Animated/ 
experimental film 

Finished 16mm film. 
$4,500 awarded in cash 
prizes. First-place winner 
receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. Sponsored by 
Universal Pictures. 
Board of Judges: John 
Canemaker, Ed Hansen, 
Faith Hubley, Chuck 
Jones. Harry Love. 



SCREENWRITING 

Original feature-length 
screenplays. $4,500 
awarded in cash prizes. 
First-place winner receives 
a new Nissan Sentra. 
Sponsored by John 
Badham Films. Board 
of Judges: Tony Bill. Jed 
Dietz, Syd Field, Anne 
Kramer, Midge Sanford. 

Sound 
achievement 

Finished 16mm film. 
$2,000 cash prize. 
Sponsored by Dolby 
Laboratories Inc. 

Board of Judges: Gary 
Bourgeois, Charles L. 
Campbell, Donald 
O. Mitchell, Charieen 
Richards, Elliot Tyson. 

FILM EDITING 

Finished 16mm film. 
$2,000 awarded in cash 
prizes. Sponsored by 
Benihana of Tokyo, 
Inc. Board of Judges: 
Rudi Fehr, Lynzee 
Klingman, Carol 
Littleton, Clair Simpson, 
Michael A. Stevenson. 



Cinematography 

Finished 16mm film. 
$2,000 awarded in cash 
prizes. Sponsored by 
Eastman Kodak 
Company. Board of 
Judges: John Bailey, 
Allen Daviau. Jim 
Glennon, Jacek Laskus. 
Mikael Salomon. 

Women in film 
foundation award 

Finished 16mm film or 
feature-length screenplay. 
$1,000 cash prize. 
Sponsored by FOCUS. 
Board of Judges: 
Fern Field. Judy James, 
Ilene Kahn, Lynn Roth, 
Margot Winchester. 

Renee valente 
producers award 

In Honor of Renee 
Valente, Honorary 
Chairperson of FOCUS 
and former president of 
the Producers Guild of 
America. Finished 16mm 
film. $1,000 cash prize. 
Board of Judges: Bill 
Finnegan, Harry Gittes, 
Gale Anne Hurd, Alan 
Rafkin, Renee Valente. 

Institutional 
awards 

The conesponding 
college or university 
of the first-place 
winners of the Narrative, 
Documentary and 
Animated/Experimental 
Categories of FOCUS 
will receive $1,000 
in Eastman motion 
picture film from 
Eastman Kodak 
Company for their 
film department's use. 



FOCUS AWARD 
CEREMONY 

AH winners will be 
flown, expenses paid, 
to Los Angeles for 
the FOCUS Award 
Ceremony, to be held 
August 28. 1990 at the 
Directors Guild Theatre. 

Board of governors: 

Lewis Allen • John Avildsen • John 
Badham • Ingmar Bergman • Tony 
Bill • Mitchell Block • Barbara 
Boyle • James Coburn • James 
A. Corbett, C.A.S. • Jules Dassin 
John Davis • Robert OeNiro 
Stanley Donen • Richard Edlund. 
A.S.C • Federico Fellini ♦ Milos 
Forman • John Frankenrteimer 
Robert Getchell • Bruce Gilbert 
Taylor Hackford • Ward Kimball 
Herbert Kline • Arthur Knight 
Howard W. Koch • Barbara Kopple 
Jennings Lang • David Lean • Jack 
Lemmon • Lynne Liftman • Sidney 
Lumet • Frank Perry • Sydney 
Pollack • David Puttnam • Ivan 
Reitman • Burt Reynolds • Gene 
Roddenberry • Herbert Ross 
David E. Salzman • John 
Schlesinger • George C. Scott 
Stirling Silliphant • Joan Micklin 
Silver • Neil Simon • Steven 
Spielberg • Peter Strauss • Jerry 
Waintraub • Gene S. Weiss 
Bruce Williamson • Robert 
Wise • Frederick Wiseman 
David LWolper* Peter Yates 
Charlotte Zwerin 

HONORARY CHAIRP 

Renee Valente 




COMPETITION 

DEADLINE: MAY 4,1990 

Get a complete set of 

rules from your English, 

Film or Communications 

Department. Or write to: 

FOCUS 

10 East 34th Street 

New York, New York 

10016 

(212)779-0404 



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SEEKING A DISTRIBUTOR? 

The Cinema Guild is now acquiring distribution rights 

for all markets and all territories on documentary and 

narrative films and videotapes. 

For further information, or a copy of our new 
Distribution Services Brochure, contact: 

THE CINEMA GUILD 

1697 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 
Phone (212) 246-5522 Fax (212) 246-5525 





FIVF 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 


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CONTENTS 




13,00.42,; 




COVER: Just os personal computers have 
catapulted the field of publishing into a new 
era, so too are they revolutionizing video 
editing. Desktop video, which brings all the 
advantages and capabilities of high quality 
computer-based editing systems to the 
personal computer, will be a ubiquitous and 
affordable toot for independent producers 
and editors within the next several years. In 
this issue, Ten Robinson scons the held in 
"Machine Montage, looking at the various 
systems currently available and the future 
direction of desktop video editing. Photo 
courtesy AT&T. 



FEATURES 

26 Machine Montage: A Report on Desktop Video Editing Systems 

by Teri Robinson 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Monster Movie Tests Actors' Union Rules: SAG Low-Low Budget Contract 
in Negotiation 

by Lisa R. Rhodes 

SF Pubcaster Pursues Joint News Venture with Commercial TV 

by Laura Fraser 

When Is an Ad Not an Ad? When It's Underwriting 

by Wayne Friedman 

New Jersey Media Artists Showcased on State Network 

by Walter Blakely 

Deeper Cuts in Massachusetts Arts Funding 

by Patricia Thomson 

New Distributor Embraces the Avant Garde 

by May Lyle 

Sequels 

12 FIELD REPORTS 

Not Just Luxury Resorts: Travel Films and the Ecological Impact of 
Tourism 

by Emily Emerson 

Product Placement Pros and Cons 

by Janice Drickey 

The Simulated Society: Four Installations at the AFI Video Festival 

by Bill Horrigan 

Debut of Japanese Documentary Fest 

by Gordon Hitchens 

21 TALKING HEADS 

Double Vision: Teamwork on Eyes on the Prize II 

by Renee Tajima 

24 IN FOCUS 

Stacked Bullets and Divine Wind: The Sound Design of Romero 

by Lucy Karhi 

32 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

34 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

36 CLASSIFIEDS 
38 NOTICES 
40 MEMORANDA 
PROGRAM NOTES 

by Mary Jane Skalski 



APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



Ah !'/><■'/ lettei to the film community 

We arc shocked and outraged thai Roger ct v/< was 
not nominated tor an Academy Aw ard. win did the 
nominating committee of the Academy of Motion 
Picture \its and Sciences ignore this year's most 

visible, biting documentary, one that has already 
proved itself the people's choice? 1 lie film has been 
called one of the year's 10 best by more distin- 
guished critics than any other US movie of l u S l > 

\s documentarj filmmakers, we constantly ex- 
periment w ith the uneasy, relationship bet\s en reality 
and filmed reality. Recently, several critics have 
raised questions regarding the storytelling in Roger 
& Me — questions that could be raised about many of 
our documentaries. It is difficult to ignore the fact 
that these questions have been raised at a time when 
General Motors has developed a political attack 
against the film. 

For example, the Detroit Institute of the Arts 
cancelled its January 1 1 premiere of Roger & Mr due 
to pressure from GM and company-related contribu- 
tors to the Institute. Advertising agencies for GM's 
five automobile divisions are being instructed not to 
place extremely lucrative car commericals on televi- 
sion shows that feature Moore or the film — specifi- 
cally during the airing of the Donahue broadcast 
from Flint. This is a terrifying example of the way a 
corporation can attempt to impede the free flow of 
information over national television through eco- 
nomic pressure. 

What we need are 1 00 or more documentary films 
that will lead the field creatively, entertain, and take 
a good, hard look at the social reality of the nation. 
Michael Moore has pledged to create a foundation 
with a portion of his fees to fund filmmakers work- 
ing on social issues raised in his film, such as 
homelessness, unemployment, racism, hunger, and 
corporate responsibility. 

At a time of threatened censorship in the arts, the 
American people need as many independent voices 
as possible. The courage of Roger & Me in spotlight- 
ing one of the causes of our disgraceful national 
poverty, combined with its commercial success, 
opens the door for all of us. 

We want to see a change in the documentary 
nominating committee of the Academy so that 
nominations will clearly reflect the best, most di- 
verse, and most innovative films in the field. We 
think that the nominating committee should be made 
up of active documentary filmmakers who have no 
conflict of interest with their nominees. We encour- 
age members of the Academy to write in their vote 
for Roger & Me. By doing so, Roger & Me can 
become the clear choice for best feature-length 
documentary of 1989. 



Pamela Yates* 
Haskell Wexler* 
Robert Richardson* 
Monona Wali* 
Peter Kinoy 
Sandi Sissel 
Julia Reichert* 
Jim Klein* 
Joan Churchill 
Nick Broomfield 
Deborah Shaffer* 



Isabel Maxwell 
Mary Beth Yarrow 
Pierce Rqfferty 
Margie Crimmons 
Helena Solberg 
David Meyer 
Nina Rosenhlum 
Bienvenida Matias 
Lisa Engle 
Ada Griffin 
Obie Ben:* 




Robert Richier* 
Mira Nair* 
Robert Young 
Tom Sigel 
Ed Lachman 
Stephanie Black 
Chris Choy* 
Re nee Taj i ma* 
Lourdes Portillo* 
Gene Coor 
Al Levin 



J.T. Takagi 
Ann Bohlen 
Ruth Shapiro 
Jack Willis* 
Gini Reticker 
Greta Schiller 
Andrea Weiss 
Judy Irving 
Chris Beaver 
Mark Benjamin 
Louis Malle* 



*Nominated for or won Academy Awards in past 
years 



To the editor: 

Renee Tajima's article "TV Diversity: Not in Name 
Only" [December 1989] does not accurately reflect 
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's (CPB) 
support for minority programming. CPB has pro- 
vided significant funding for programs by and about 
minorities through the major series funded by CPB, 
e.g., American Playhouse, WonderWorks, Front- 
line. CPB has had a long-standing agreement with 
these series that one-third of the CPB funds will be 
spent on minority productions. That amounted to 
roughly $4.3-million in fiscal year 1989. Minority 
productions also receive a significant share of CPB's 
Open Solicitation funds, some 39 percent ($2.5- 
million) in the last fiscal year. 

In the Public Telecommunications Act of 1988, 
Congress directed CPB to make grants for programs 
that address the needs and interests of minorities. 
Toward that end, CPB created the Minority Pro- 
gramming Initiative and funded it for $3-million, the 
amount suggested in the bill's legislative history, 
beginning in fiscal year 1990. 

While Tajima's article is primarily about the 
minority consortia, which did in fact have $800,000 
earmarked by CPB for their activities in FY 1989, 
the reader is unfortunately left with the impression 
that that represents the sum of CPB's support for 
minority programming. 

— Donald Marbury 

director, CPB Television Program Fund 

Washington, D.C. 

Renee Tajima responds: 

CPB defines a minority program as one that includes 
minorities in at least three of the following six roles: 
executive producer, line producer, director, writer, 
talent, and subject matter. I believe the Coalition 
members are concerned that funding be provided to 
those programs in which the primary creative and 
editorial decision-making rests with minorities. 



fllMA VIDEO MONTHLY 



IWEPEIOENr 



APRIL 1990 

VOLUME 13, NUMBER 3 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Ray Navarro 
Jeanne Brei 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times yearly 
by the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New 
York, NY 10012, (212) 473-3400, a not-for- 
profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and film, and 
by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video and 
film. Subscription is included with membership in 
AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a broad 
range of educational and professional services for 
independents and the general public. Publication 
of The Independent is made possible in part 
with public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National Endowment 
for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss or 
damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addressed to the editor. Letters may be edited for 
length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc., except where 
otherwise noted. Reprints require written 
permission and acknowledgement of the article's 
previous appearance in The Independent. 
ISSN 0731-5198. The Independent is indexed 
in the Alternative Press Index. 

@ Foundation for Independent Video ond Film, tnc 1990 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Carol 
Selton, administrative assistant. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



FOR ALL YOUR FILM 
PRODUCTION NEEDS 




Eastman 

Motion Picture Films 




© Eastman Kodak Company, 1990 

EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY 

Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

Atlanta: 404/668-0500 • Chicaso: 312/218-5174 

Dallas: 214/506-9700 • Hollywood: 213/464-6131 

Honolulu: 808/833-1661 • New York: 212/930-8000 

Montreal: 514/761-3481 • Rochester: 716/254-1300 

Toronto: 416/766-8233 • Washinston, D.C.: 703/558-9220 

Vancouver: 604/684-8535 




MONSTER MOVIE TESTS ACTORS' UNION RULES 

SAG Low-Low Budget Contract in Negotiations 



oAG claimed that 
because Frankenstein 
General Hospital was 
a commercial film 
shown in commercial 
theaters, the 
independent film 
company Night 
Games Productions 
violated the Limited 
Exhibition Letter 
Agreement, which 
governs SAG 
contracts for low-low 
budget films. 



The old adage "Say what you mean, and mean 
what you say" can't be far from the minds of 
negotiators from the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers and the Screen Actors 
Guild (SAG) as they work to revise SAG's low- 
low budget contract for independent film produc- 
ers. The need for revisions is the result of an 
arbitration decision in November regarding an 
alleged violation of the Limited Exhibition Letter 
Agreement (LEA), which has brought the two 
parties who drew up the agreement in 1986 back 
to the drawing board. 

Last May, SAG's Hollywood office initiated 
an arbitration against the independent film com- 
pany Night Games Productions, charging viola- 
tion of LEA in the theatrical release of Franken- 
stein General Hospital, a low -budget horror flick 
produced in October 1987. LEA applies only to 
independently conceived and produced motion 
pictures that are not intended for national theatri- 
cal release, television broadcast, or cablecast. 
Films produced under LEA that run 90 minutes or 
more must be budgeted under $200,000. In addi- 
tion, distribution of LEA films is meant to be 
strictly confined to "limited runs in showcase 
theatres," a term which SAG and AIVF originally 
understood to mean small, independently-run art 
houses, such as Film Forum in New York. How- 
ever, this phrase w as never specifically defined in 
LEA — an omission that ultimately cost SAG its 
arbitration. 

Night Games Productions, based on the West 
Coast, produced Frankenstein General Hospital 
in four weeks for a purported SI 98.500. The film 
originally was intended for home video distribu- 
tion only, but the producer later decided to test it 
for the theatrical market. Frankenstein General 
Hospital was shown for one week in two theaters 
in Las Vegas and 20 in Texas. Viewer response 
was poor, so the film then went directly to the 
home video market. 

SAG claimed that because Frankenstein Gen- 
eral Hospital was a commercial film shown in 
commercial theaters. Night Games violated the 
LEA. They contended that Night Games should 
have renegotiated its agreement with SAG before 
exhibiting the film theatrically. The fact that the 
release was only for a test market and had a limited 
run w as beside the point, they argued. 

Night Games countered that SAG's represen- 
tative was never clear about what constitutes a 
showcase theater. Since Night Games had previ- 
ously used a LEA for other projects, they con- 



tended, they had no reason to question the term. 
The company understood LEA to forbid national 
exhibition in theaters, but believed that a limited 
run on a local or regional basis was permissable. 
In addition, the producer pointed out that SAG 
approved of Frankenstein General Hospital's 
production under LEA, even though the union 
knew it was a commercial project. 

The arbitrator ruled in favor of Night Games, 
stating that the film's release to 22 theaters in two 
states could be considered a limited run. More 
importantly, the arbitrator concluded that since 
SAG did not clearly define what it intended by the 
phrase "showcase theatres," the producer's inter- 
pretation of the term was not unreasonable. The 
court advised SAG to state more clearly its inten- 
tions regarding distribution of films made under 
LEA. 

At the time this article was written in mid- 
February, a SAG representative and AIVF execu- 
tive director Lawrence Sapadin. working with a 
committee of the AIVF board of directors as well 
as an attorney, were in the process of hammering 
out a definition of showcase theaters that would 
satisfy both sides. "We're trying to come up with 
language that will work for independents and not 
undermine the union," says Sapadin. who helped 
draw up the original LEA. 

John Sucke, executive secretary of SAG in 
New York City, says that while revisions are 
being made, the original LEA will remain in use. 
"At the moment, we're taking the risk and we're 
going with what already exists in the contract." he 
explains. "We've been following the usual proce- 
dure in the interim." One change since the hear- 
ing. Sucke notes, is that SAG's Hollywood office 
will not sign films under LEA that run for more 
than 60 minutes, which are dealt with by SAG's 
New York office. Sucke anticipates having a 
revised LEA ready by this summer. 

LISA R. RHODES 

Lisa R. Rhodes is a freelance arts writer who lives 
in Staten Island. New York. 

SF PUBCASTER PURSUES 
JOINT NEWS VENTURE WITH 
COMMERCIAL TV 

San Francisco's public television station KQED 
recently came up with an innovative plan to pro- 
gram KQEC. the other local public TV station 
which KQED also runs: turn it into a 24-hour 



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'There's a lot of 
worthwhile public 
affairs programming 
that could be 
produced in the Bay 
Area which will not 
sell pizza. That's 
what KQEC should 
be used for." 



news station. The idea was to provide continuous 
local news as well as create a commercial-free 
news program for children in school. 

But there was something wrong with this pic- 
ture. The plan — which has since been scrapped in 
negotiations — called for KQED to enter into a 
joint programming venture with a local commer- 
cial station, KRON (owned by the Chronicle 
Broadcasting Company, also owner of the largest 
local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle). 
KRON was interested in the deal because KQEC 
is also carried by local cable operators, presenting 
a rare opportunity for a network affiliate to grab an 
additional lucrative spot on cable. According to 
the plan, KQED and KRON would create a news 
production company to program Channel 32 as a 
24-hour news channel. The programs would run 
with commercials on cable and without commer- 
cials over the air. 

Critics were quick to point out that program- 
ming created for commercial use isn't exactly the 
same as noncommercial public TV. Even without 
the commercials, it would still be commercially- 
driven. "The quality of that programming will be 
determined by commercial norms, rather than by 
public interest norms. So there's no reason to 
think it'll be any more diverse than other network 
news," noted Larry Daressa, a San Franciscan 
who is chair of the National Coalition of Inde- 
pendent Public Broadcasting Producers. "There's 
a lot of worthwhile public affairs programming 
that could be produced in the Bay Area which will 
not sell pizza," he continued. "That's what KQEC 
should be used for. They're not supposed to be 
imitating KRON. They're supposed to be doing 
some venturesome public programming." 

Some critics regarded KQED's move as a last- 
ditch effort to try to save its license for KQEC, 
which the FCC revoked last year because KQED 
didn't program the station for about five months in 
1 980 in order to save money. KQED told the FCC 
that the station had been off the air because of 



technical reasons, but, as Larry Hall, a member of 
the California Public Broadcasting Forum which 
has worked to revoke both KQED licenses, put it, 
"It was a very clear lie, and both the administrative 
law judge and the appeals panel agreed on that." 
Yet the station still has to undergo another round 
of appeals to a US district court before the license 
is turned over to another group — a process that 
could take up to several years. 

The KQED/KRON deal fell through in January 
because of messy negotiations, which neither side 
will describe. While some public television activ- 
ists and independent producers consider that a 
victory, it is likely that KQED will continue to 
pursue other commercial partners to turn Channel 
32 into an all-news station. KQED stands to make 
quite a profit on a commercial 24-hour news deal. 
The terms with KRON, for example, allocated 20 
percent of the profits to KQED for the use of its 
license. 

The plan marks another way in which public 
television has strayed from its public service 
mandate and become increasingly commercial- 
ized. Joe Camicia, KQED's director of govern- 
ment and cable relations, defended the joint ven- 
ture, saying, "News is not a commercially-driven 
commodity," he said. "It's driven by events. We're 
not producing programming for advertisers. We're 
reporting the news." However Ben Bagdikian, 
former dean of the University of California, 
Berkeley Journalism School and author of The 
Media Monopoly, noted the idea that news is 
driven only by events is "a naive oversimplica- 
tion." While some daily news is compelling, much 
of it is optional and based on the priorities of 
broadcasters, who too often show gory accidents 
and fires in order to keep viewers from turning the 
dial. "We do know that, especially in broadcast- 
ing, news is rating-driven," said Bagdikian. 

He noted that the deal is "especially galling" 
since KQED used to have a widely-respected 
news program on the air that was innovative, 
Newsroom. "It was an hour long and was run the 
way a good newspaper is run, with reporters who 
covered events thoroughly for that day them- 
selves," he described. "It was not hit-and-run — 
get 10 seconds of footage with a hot quote and 
make a news item. They covered events with 
considerable depth and discussed it intelligently." 

But when KQED, like many public television 
stations, began to worry more about ratings than 
journalism, they cut Newsroom. To Bagdikian, 
it's part of a national trend. "The whole direction 
of all major public stations is increasingly com- 
mercial-driven," he says. "The programming is 
selected increasingly on the basis of corporate 
sponsorship, with decreasing regard for what the 
community as a whole lacks in news and informa- 
tion." 

LAURA FRASER 

Laura Fraser is a freelance writer who is press 
critic for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. 



Entries 



4th Annual 

Producer's 
Marketplace 

Sponsored by: 

The National Educational 
Film & Video Festival 



A premiere showcase of new 
independent documentary, educational 
and narrative films and videos. The 
Producer's Marketplace attracts a 
variety of distributors who specialize 
in marketing to domestic and foreign 
educational institutions, television and 
home video. The Marketplace has 
assisted hundreds of independent 
producers in finding distributors to 
represent their works. 

Eligibility: Professional and student works, 

both non-fiction and narrative. Completed 

works and works in progress accepted. 

Some or all distribution rights must 

be owned by the producer 

as of April, 16, 1990 

Deadline: April 16, 1990 

Entry Forms: 

Producer's Marketplace/NEFVF 

314 East Tenth Street, Room 205 

Oakland, CA 94606 

(415)465-6885 



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WHEN IS AN AD NOT AN 
AD? WHEN IT'S 
UNDERWRITING 

"l nderwriting is a gentlemen's way of saying 
ad\ cm sing these dav s," says one advertising agen- 
cy executive. There's evidence everywhere. One 
10-second Lexis car announcement showing an 
automobile in motion appeared recently on public 
television, raising the eyebrows of producers and 
some public telev ision station executives. 

Now Time magazine and Frontline are blurring 
the advertising-underwriting picture even more. 
In an effort to lure underwriters to the public 
affairs series Frontline, produced by WGBH- 
Boston and considered by PBS to feature "inde- 
pendent" documentary productions, the two news 
organizations have devised a novel plan that 
combines corporate underw riting and print adver- 
tising. Working together. Time magazine editors 
and Frontline producers will produce four special 
Frontline programs to be aired during the fall 
1 990 season. 

The plan calls for Time and Frontline to find a 
sponsor who will contribute S l .5-million tow ards 
these programs. But key in this deal is the stipula- 
tion that the sponsor also buy $500,000 of gen- 
eral-purpose print advertising in Time magazine. 
Time offer to match this with $500,000 worth of 
advertising in six Time. Inc.. Publications — Time. 
Sports Illustrated. People. Money. Fortune, and 
Life — which will promote the four shows and 
display the sponsor's logo. 

PBS isn't worried about overlapping noncom- 
mercial and commercial media venues. "This is 
corporate social responsibility." says Geoffrey 
Little, director of national programming market- 
ing for WGBH. who secures corporate underwrit- 
ers for shows like Frontline and Nova. Time's 
adv ertising sales team will participate in finding a 
sponsor for the project. But. Little says. "It's 
philanthropic in the larger sense. It will help us 
bring an audience to a program which they might 
not otherwise be aware of." He also defends the 
deal on the grounds that it will heighten Front- 
line's editorial and production quality: "It will 
give [Frontline] the highest documentary budget 
in television." Whereas a one-hour documentary 
for Frontline might normally run S250.000. says 
Little, the budgets for each of these programs will 
be S500.000. 

Likewise. Time sees only advantages. "It al- 
lows us to reaffirm our position in quality pro- 
gramming and extend our reach to an audience 
that may not be exactly the same as Time." says 
Bruce McGowan, executive producer of Time 
Television, which coproduces news specials for 
commercial television. 

No subjects have been determined for the four 
special programs, but the extra production dollars 
will allow Frontline to cover international sto- 
ries — something that has largely been prohibited 
in the past because of cost, notes Little. Stories 
about South American drug cartels or a report on 



the turmoil in Eastern European countries are po- 
tential topics 

While this is the first time Time and Frontline 
have collaborated on a media-buying business 
deal. Time has worked editorially with Frontline 
in the past. Time staff reporters contributed to two 
Frontline documentaries: The Choice, about the 
1988 presidential contest, and The Defense of 
Europe, an analysis of NATO and Warsaw Pact 
military strategies. Time's reporters' involvement 
ranged from background research to on-camera 
work. 

This deal is a response to the current difficulties 
encountered in the search for program funding. At 
this level. Robert Richter. president of the Asso- 
ciation of Independent Video and Filmmakers 
and a producer of documentaries which have 
frequently appeared on PBS, applauds Front- 
line's ingenuity. But he worries about editorial 
control and potential advertiser conflicts. "If Time 
has the final cut, it ought to be stated clearly in the 
credits, and if that happens. Time, as a commercial 
entity, may be on the wrong network." Richter 
observes. He also wonders whether this might be 
construed as a harbinger of further changes in 
public television. "If Time magazine can buy four 
hours of time on public television airwaves, can 
Pravda also buy time?" queries Richter. "I would 
be concerned about PBS being a commercial 
enterprise instead of a public one." 

WAYNE FRIEDMAN 

Wayne Friedman is a senior writer at Inside 
Media. 

NEW JERSEY MEDIA 
ARTISTS SHOWCASED ON 
STATE NETWORK 

After years of trying to convince New Jersey's 
cultural administrators that film and video by 
local independents deserve greater recognition, 
New Jersey independents and other TV viewers 
were finally treated to a glimpse of what may 
become a very productive collaboration between 
independents, the statewide public television 
channel New Jersey Network (NJN), and the New 
Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA). On 
Sunday. January 14, NJN aired its first Film and 
Video Showcase as a special two-hour presenta- 
tion of the weekly arts magazine State of the Arts. 
a series coproduced by NJSCA. 

Film and Video Showcase presented a wide 
range of short works by nine independent produc- 
ers. These included the film animation Factory. 
by George Chase: Shelter, a docudrama. by Re- 
gina Conroy: a clip from Steps, a fictional film 
using documentary techniques, by Blair Murphy: 
Verbatim. Eleanor Russell's film mixing cartoon 
animation with live action; Bombs Aren't Cool, a 
rap music video with a message, by Joan Jubela 
and Stanton Davis: Deliberating Man. an anima- 
tion, by Emily Hubley ; Spin Me Round, an experi- 
mental film by Albert Gabriel Nigrin; Shalom 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



WHERE TO LOOK FOR SUPER 8 



' Straight Up, Paula Abdul music video 
' Forever Your Girl, Paula Abdul music video 

Space Shuttle footage, NASA 

Revolution, Nike, commercial 

America's Most Wanted, FOX 

Black Rain, Paramount Pictures, feature film 

Jovan Musk, Commercial, Clio winner 

Imagine, John Lennon feature 

Dear America: Letters Home from 

Vietnam, HBO 

This is Elvis, feature 

Flatliners, Columbia Pictures, feature 

film 

71 Jump Street, FOX 

Notorious, Duran Duran music video 

James Taylor, music video 

A Polish Vampire in Burbank, feature 

film on USA network 

McDonald's, commercia 

Burger King, commercial 

With or Without You, U-2 music video 

Surf detergent, commercial 

Let the Music Do the Talking, Aerosmith 

music video 

Howie Mandel Special, HBO 

Lunchmeat, feature film 

The Jet Benny Show, feature film 

Curse of the Queerwolf, feature film 

Wave Warriors, II, III, IV, V, feature 

films 



* Journey to the Impact Zone, feature film 

* Son Clemente Locals, feature film 
Game of Survival, feature film 

* Doctor Strain, The Body Snatcher, 
feature film 

The Outsiders, FOX 

* Ozone Attack of the Red Neck Mutants, 
feature film 

* Desperate Teenage Love Dolls, feature film 

* Chobe, Documentary 

* Attack of the B Movie Monsters, feature film 

* Gore-met Zombie Chef From Hell, 
feature film 

Paradise City, Guns and Roses music video 
Sweet Child O Mine, Guns and Roses 
music video 



Wildcats, feature film 

Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi music video 

* Dreamin, George Benson music video 
Higher Love, Steve Windwood music video 
No More Lies, Moody Blues music video 
Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen music 
video 

REM, concert video 

* In the Name of the People, Academy 
Award Nominee for Best Documentary 
1984 

Someday, Steve Earl music video 

Coming Around Again, Carly Simon 

music video 

Good Music, Joan Jett music video 

Don't Disturb Groove, The System music 

video 

* Coca Cola, Sprite commercial 
Rosarita, Salsa commercial 
Tran & Eddie, Stray Cats music video 

* Monument Valley, PBS Documentary 
* Shot entirely in Super 8 



Brian Bleak 

— Surf Cinematographer 




"I try to shoot the best surfers 
in the world in the best 
conditions. That's basically the 
format for Wave Warriors. 
We're starting on our fifth one now — sort of like the Nightmare on Elm Street of 
surfing. 

I really think the reason why I'm sticking with Super 8 is that I see the potential of 
the medium. It's so much easier than shooting with say 16mm — and it's a lot less 
expensive. Kodachrome 40 is a tight grain film. On tape, it's really beautiful. 

I own my own equipment. I can grab my Pelican case with three cameras in it and 
hump down the beach and be set up and shooting in two minutes while the other 
guys are still fumbling with their clunky rigs. I really believe that filmmaking should 
be fun. And if you're not having fun, forget it. With a camera like the Beaulieu 
7008, film to video on the Rank Cintel, and the beauty of Kodachrome, Super 8 will 
blow you away." 

Brian Bleak is head of production for Astroboys Productions. He has produced nine 
Super 8 surf films during the past five years. Mr. Bleak is a major contributor to 
"Surfer Magazine" on ESPN. 




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Gorcwitz's A Small Jubilee, a \ ideo using image 
processing; and Flag, Linda Gibson's combina- 
tion of pe rfo rmance and personal documental] . 

Apart from has ing to live or work in New 
Jerses . the mam criteria for Show t as* » as "excel- 
lence." The work was screened b\ an advisory 
panel ot media arts professionals from around the 
state, including John Columbus and Lia De 
Stephano, both from the Black Maria Film and 
Video Festival. Larry Cocco. an independent 
producer then on staff at Newark Mediaworks, 
and myself. After the panel made its recommen- 
dations, final selection was made by the series' 
producers at NJN Each media artist received an 
honorarium of S330. 

State of the Arts first aired in 1 982, intended to 
become, in the words of series producer Nila 
Aronow . "the definitive television arts magazine 
in New Jersey" The show was given NJSCA 
funding in 1 985 and has. for the most part, achieved 
its original goal, covering a significant portion of 
the cultural scene in the state. With the premiere 
of the Film and Video Showcase, the generally 
overlooked realm of media art in New Jersey 
finally received state-wide recognition. "It evolved 
as part of the natural growth of State of the Arts." 
said Eric Luskin, w ho produces specials for NJN. 
"It couldn't have happened even two years ago." 
Anyone following the media arts scene in New 
Jerse\ know s that the subject of providing greater 
exposure for local independents via public televi- 
sion has come up at several conferences in New 
Jersey over the past several years at which repre- 
sentatives from either NJN or NJSCA were pres- 
ent. 

Showcase was hosted by NJN staff member 
Amber Edwards, who along with guest artist 
Linda Gibson provided commentary on the inde- 
pendent scene as well as on the individual works 
presented. Their comments were geared toward a 
general audience with little familiarity with inde- 
pendent film- and videomaking. 

The possibility of making Showcase an annual 
event is currently under discussion at NJN. In the 
meantime. New Jersey independents are being 
asked to submit short works (six minutes or less) 
to be considered for airing on an "irregular" basis 
on State of the Arts. For more information, contact 
Susan Wallner at (609) 530-5252. 

WALTER BLAKELY 

Walter Blakely is a freelance writer and indepen- 
dent filmlvideomaker living in New Jersey. 

DEEPER CUTS IN 
MASSACHUSETTS ARTS 
FUNDING 

When Governor Dukakis' so-called Massachu- 
setts Miracle turned out to be Massachusetts' 
mirage, the state suddenly found itself staggering 
under the weight of an unforeseen and monumen- 
tal deficit. The state's shortfall in revenues is now 
devastating the arts. And the prognosis seems to 
be arow ina worse. 




The new distribution 
company Drift is 
dedicated to promoting 
such avant-garde 
works as Roddy 
Bogawa's A Small 
Room in the Big House. 

Photo: Jomes Gannon, courtesy 
Drift 



Last summer, at the beginning the state's fiscal 
year, the legislature slashed the Massachusetts 
Council on the Arts and Humanities' budget in 
half, rather than eliminate the agency altogether 
as the House had proposed. The cuts came out of 
program funds. Merit Aid. which provides gen- 
eral operating support to arts organizations, in- 
cluding 1 5 to 20 media arts organizations like the 
Newton Television Foundation. Boston Film/ 
Video Arts, and public television station VVGBH, 
was reduced by 45 percent. Grants available to 
individual media artists through the Mass Produc- 
tions and New Works programs were also se- 
verely cut. 

In November, after the legislature saw that the 
deficit was exceeding the projections made five 
months earlier, the arts council again faced the 
threat of extinction. In response, the council, arts 
advocates, and members of the state Senate tried 
to hammer out an alternative solution. The result 
was a restructuring of the state's two main arts 
agencies and further budget reductions, this time 
coming out of administrative funds. 

As of January 1 . the Massachusetts Council on 
the Arts and Humanities and the Arts Lottery 
Council were merged and renamed the Massachu- 
setts Cultural Council. Previously the two agen- 
cies had distinct functions: the larger Massachu- 
setts Council on the Arts and Humanities had a 
statew ide perspective and merit-based aw ards and 
the Arts Lottery Council distributed funds on a per 
capita basis to cities and towns. These awards 
were community-controlled, with local arts coun- 
cils determining how the funds should be spent. 
As its name implies, the Arts Lottery Council's 
funding came from the state's sale of lottery 
tickets — a booming business which pulls in SI - 
billion or so peryear. The new agency will also get 
its revenues from this pool. 

For the duration of this fiscal year, the Massa- 
chusetts Cultural Council will have only SI 7.3- 
million: S5-million from the Arts Lottery's pot 
and S12.3-million from the legislature. (In com- 
parison, the Arts and Humanities Council alone 
had a budget of S21.7-million and S19.4-million 
in 1988 and 1989). But even this is now S300.000 



less than originally allocated in the 1990 budget, 
due to further cuts made in the administrative 
budget this winter. Further crippling the council is 
the loss of a third of its staff in the last 1 8 months, 
due both to attrition and "unhappiness," accord- 
ing to a spokesperson at the agency. 

The merger itself does not particularly disturb 
arts advocates, who recognize the merits of ad- 
ministrative streamlining — one of the merger's 
rationales. Says Susan Walsh of the Newton Tele- 
vision Foundation, "As long as they keep their 
distinct functions intact, it should be fine." What 
haunts the arts community is the spectre of future 
cuts — the governor is now proposing a 20 percent 
reduction in the next budget — and. even more, the 
w illingness of state legislators to consider totally 
eliminating support for the arts. "It would be 
devastating to media artists in the state." declares 
Walsh. For Walsh and other observers, Massa- 
chusetts' troubles may well be a sign of hard times 
ahead for other states, such as New York, which is 
facing its own snowballing deficit. "A year ago at 
a NAMAC conference, when they were first talk- 
ing about eliminating the Massachusetts Arts 
Council, I went around and talked to people from 
other states about this threat," recalls Walsh. 
"Everyone seemed to think it was just our prob- 
lem. But I don't think so. I'm afraid Massachu- 
setts is just the beginning." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

NEW DISTRIBUTOR 
EMBRACES THE 
AVANT GARDE 

A new nonprofit distribution company dedicated 
to socially conscious avant-garde film and video 
recently opened its doors. The downtown Man- 
hattan group, called Drift Distribution, has a dual 
purpose, according to cofounder Brian Goldberg. 
One is media advocacy, by which Goldberg means 
Drift's advancement of money to "unknown, 
underfunded, under 25" media artists to help them 
make prints and tapes of their work for distribu- 
tion. Drift also hopes to help sustain a practicing 
and mutually supportive experimental media 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



community by handling "volatile, challenging, 
nonfeature-length" works which other distribu- 
tors shy away from. 

Drift was cofounded by Leslie Thornton, pro- 
ducer of such avant-garde works as Adynata, 
There Was an Unseen Cloud Moving, and Peggy 
and Fred in Hell, together with Goldberg, a 
filmmaker and one-time student of Thornton's at 
Brown University. Their experiences as 
filmmakers "dependent on companies afraid of 
new work" led them to resolve to form a company 
that falls "between New York ' s Filmmakers Coop, 
a passive distributor, and First Run Features, 
which is full-service, but conservative and com- 
mercial," explains Goldberg. 

The company name is a translation of derive, a 
word favored by the French Situationists to de- 
scribe a process of drifting across existing cultural 
boundaries to discover alternate ideological and 
artistic parameters. Thornton explains that this 
idea is central to Drift: the promotion of film and 
video critical of culture and of its own practice, 
which also seek to displace such categories as 
documentary, experimental, narrative, animation, 
and the film/video boundary. Goldberg also hopes 
Drift can help dissolve the boundaries between 
these "atomized communities" of producers. 

Drift has no genre restrictions and is casting a 
wide net. At this early stage, their roster contains 
40 titles, including The Best of the Gay and 
Lesbian Experimental Film Festival, Peggy 
Ahwesh's experimental narrative The Deadman, 
the experimental shorts True Michigan and To 
Clementine, by Roddy Bogawa, the films of Alan 
Sondheim, and many of Thornton's titles. Gold- 
berg hopes to expand the list with neglected work 
from abroad, particularly Latin American super 8 
features, Cuban cinema, and lesser known Euro- 
pean cinema. In addition, underexposed films 
from past eras which are important to the me- 
dium's historical development will be revived "to 
recontextualize the historical process and reinvig- 
orate current thinking," says Goldberg. 

All contracts with artists are nonexclusive. 
"The intention is to contribute to the livelihood of 
the artist, not be counterproductive," says Thorn- 
ion. Sales rates are tiered according to the type of 
usage, and 50 percent of the royalties will go to the 
artist. As happens "from Hollywood on down," 
Goldberg expects a handful of the titles to carry 
the rest. 

In what Goldberg calls a "too closed" industry, 
Drift hopes to have a noncompetitive relationship 
with other small distribution companies. "We 
have no desire to step on anyone's toes," says 
Goldberg. Drift plans to handle films that are 
usually relegated to an "experimental ghetto" and 
labelled commercially unviable. So far, Drift's 
rentals have come about through word of mouth. 
In addition to the income generated through rent- 
als, the company has been sustained by Gold- 
berg's personal savings, plus a $20,000 donation 
from a private benefactor. Overhead is low, since 
Goldberg's apartment is, for the time being, doing 
double-duty as the company's office space. Drift's 




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THE INDEPENDENT 9 



marketing •.irutcg> includes the publication ot a 
catalogue which will be updated several times a 
year. The first edition appeared in February. A 
mailing list of2,000 names has been collected, but 

Drift's staff is more inclined to rely on festivals 
and screenings to generate sales. Theaters in the 
I S and Europe have already expressed interest in 
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May Lyle is distribution coordinator for Film 
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SEQUELS 

The nudity in Julie Zando's videotapes exhib- 
ited at the State Museum in Albany, New York, 
amounted to little more than a heterosexual couple 
embracing in bed. with the woman's breasts 
exposed ["The Empire State Strikes Back," March 
1990). Nevertheless, this prompted an indignant 
outcry from conservative state Assemblyman 
Robert D'Andrea, who announced that he would 
explore legislation barring state funds from such 
work, which he deemed pornographic. But seeing 
how there has not been a grounds well of support 
from state legislators, it is uncertain whether 



D'Andrea will actually introduce a bill. 
•J* ♦ ♦{* 

There's good news and bad news in President 
Bush's proposed 1991 budget. For the first time 
in 10 years, funding levels for the arts and humani- 
ties have increased, if only modestly. If Congress 
approves the budget as written, the National 
Endowment for the Arts would receive $175- 
million — a 2.2 percent increase over 1990. The 
NEA's arts-in-education program would benefit 
the most, receiving an additional $2-million. The 
National Endowment for the Humanities' budget 
would increase by 5.2 percent, to $8.1 -million. 
And the Institute of Museum Services would be 
allocated $ 1 .3-million, representing a 5.7 percent 
increase. 

The bad news is that Bush has proposed slash- 
ing $45.5-million from the $285-million budget 
approved by Congress for the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting for 1993. (CPB's budget is 
authorized three years and funded two years in 
advance and is listed in the 1991 figures.) Of this 
amount, $25.5-miliion would be cut from operat- 
ing expenses and $20-million from satellite re- 
placement funds. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

A more immediate blow to CPB is the loss of $60- 
million from the Annenberg Foundation. The 



Annenberg/CPB Project was created in 1981 
when WalterS. Annenberg pledged $l50-million 
to be disbursed over 15 years. So far the founda- 
tion has paid $90-million and supported such 
programs as The Africans, Ethics in America, War 
and Peace in the Nuclear Age, and The Brain, as 
well as televised courses for higher education. 
The foundation explained its decision to termi- 
nate funding — which was announced suddenly 
and caught CPB by surprise — as due to a recent 
IRS ruling altering the foundation's tax status. 
The CPB/Annenberg contract allows the founda- 
tion to withdraw funding only under these circum- 
stances. 



After slogging through the courts for seven years, 
the case of Preferred Communications v. the 
City of Los Angeles — one of the most significant 
court battles over cable franchising — took a deci- 
sive turn in cable's favor ["Sequels," August/ 
September 1986]. A federal court deemed the 
one-area, one-operator rule most cities use to be 
unconstitutional. Although it did not deny the 
right of cities to issue franchises, the ruling would 
allow competing, qualified operators to wire an 
area already served by another franchised com- 
pany. The judge also ruled as unconstitutional 
LA's requirement that its cable franchise provide 
six access and two leased access channels. But 



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10 THE INDEPENDENT 



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Preferred is not settled yet. Los Angeles is prepar- 
ing an appeal to the Supreme Court. 

Cable operators in Chicago did not fare so well. 
The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court deci- 
sion that the Chicago Cable Commission can 
require its cable operators to air minimum amounts 
of local programming. Three systems owned by 
Tele-Communications, Inc., had ignored the fran- 
chise requirement to cablecast four-and-a-half 
hours of local-origination programming a week 
and, as a result, suffered fines of $61,000. The 
Appeals Court upheld the city's fine, adding that 
there had been no infringement of the cable opera- 
tor's First Amendment rights. 



The UK government finally unveiled its British 
Broadcasting Bill, in the works for two years 
["European Broadcasting: New Rules, Old Game," 
March 1989]. As anticipated, the most controver- 
sial measure replaces the 15 commercial ITV 
companies with a new Channel 3 made up of 
regional licensees, each awarded to the highest 
bidder. Also included in the plan are measures 
tying Channel 4 much more closely to govern- 
mental authority. Its chair and board of directors 
would be appointed by a newly created regulatory 
body, the Independent Television Commission, 
and approved by the government's Home Secre- 
tary. While the channel's mandate would remain 
unchanged, it would be required to sell its own 
advertising — a measure that may profoundly ef- 
fect the nature of the channel's programming. 



This year's winner in the independent category of 
the highly regarded DuPont-CoIumbia Journal- 
ism Awards is On Our Own Land. This documen- 
tary expose of broadform deed strip-mining in 
Kentucky, produced by Anne Lewis Johnson of 
Appalshop, raised the hackles of coal company 
executives and kicked off a lively statewide de- 
bate on the issue ["Film Fuels Battle over Ken- 
tucky Coal," January /February 1989]. 



Robin Reidy has moved to Seattle to take over as 
the new executive director of 91 1 Contemporary 
Arts Center. Mark Finch, a former program 
advisor for the British Film Institute in London, is 
now distribution manager at Frameline in San 
Francisco. Frameline also has a new executive 
director, Tom DeMaria, the former assistant 
director of development with the National Les- 
bian and Gay Task Force in Washington, D.C. In 
New York City, Deep Dish TV has a new pro- 
gramming coordinator, Lorna Johnson, previ- 
ously with Film News Now and Third World 
Newsreel and a contributor to The Independent. 
She joins Steve Pierce, who came aboard as di- 
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THE INDEPENDENT 1 1 



FIELD REPORTS 



NOT JUST LUXURY RESORTS 

Travel Films and the Ecological Impact of Tourism 



EMILY EMERSON 



How do you "sell" a place w ithout selling it short 
or selling yourself out as a filmmaker? That was 
the issue being debated among jury members and 
spectators at the second annual Festival Interna- 
tional du Film et du Clip Touristiques held Sep- 
tember 26 to 29 in Trouville (next to Deauville). 
France. 

The travel film is a flexible genre. Some travel 
films are standard industrials that promote a tour- 
ism organization. Others are like TV commercials 
for a tourism-related product. And others can only 
be classified as documentaries trying to get to the 
heart of a place. Some travel films look at places 
from the outside, as things to be sold, while other 
travel films try to get inside places and judge them 
bv their own rules. Nanook of the North was the 
first great travel film in the latter style. Travel 
films take a positive approach — showing the in- 
teresting facets of a place, what might make some- 
one want to go there — even if negative character- 
istics are also brought out. 

To the general public the words "travel film" 
suggest — if they suggest anything at all — a video- 
cassette w ith scenes of luxury resorts somewhere, 
loaned by a travel agent to a prospective client. 
Jean-Pierre Greverie. organizer of the Trouville 
festival, explains, "Most early travel films were 
filmed or taped slide-shows, brochures really," a 
holdover from the days when the main tools of a 
travel agent's trade were printed promotional flyers 
full of glossy stills. 

But. as Greverie and other organizers of travel 
film festivals are aware, international travelers 
these days are media-wise, used to the technically 
sophisticated images they see in movie theaters or 
on their own VCRs. A travel film or video now has 
to exploit the potential of its medium, whether to 
sell a place or tell about it. And the tourism indus- 
try is beginning to take such films more seriously. 

Major international travel film/video festivals — 
some of them aligned with tourism-industry con- 
ventions — include, in addition to the Trouville 
e\ ent. the International Travel Film Festival (Bur- 
bank. California), now in its twenty-second year, 
with an average annual attendance of well over 
100.000 (the 1990 session was held last January); 
the International Tourism Exchange Fair's annual 
travel film/video festival, held in Berlin each 
March, and the World Travel Market's annual 
International Travel Video of the Year competi- 



tion, launched in November 1988 in London. 

According to the organizers of these festivals, 
most of the films and videos submitted are made 
by independent producers. Funds for the works 
come from a variety of sources: tour organizers: 
airlines; tourism bureaus of countries, regions or 
cities; resorts; and private funding. Budgets range 
from minimal to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
Average running time is 15 to 20 minutes, but 
some films and tapes are shorter or much longer. 
Winning entries at this year's festival in 
Trouville were all produced by independents. The 
films were made with very different techniques, 
budgets, and funding sources, but had some fea- 
tures in common: all used natural sounds exten- 
sively and none relied on the kind of characterless 
synthesized American pop-style music that marred 
many other festival entries. All the winning films 
focused on particular, telling details, such as 
people's faces, rather than scenery, and none of 
them showed a typical luxury hotel. 

The grand prize winner. Danish Symphony, 
was a 20-minute film commissioned by a Danish 
bank and shot in 35mm by Peter Roos and Ronald 
C. Goodman. It stood out among festival entries 
for its sophisticated camerawork and editing, its 
focus on people, and especially for its humor, 
often created through witty combinations of sounds 



and images. Behind the Mask, the second-prize 
winner at the Trouville festival, was a 12-minute 
35mm film on Hong Kong made, according to 
Kent Hayden Sadler of the Hong Kong Tourist 
Association w hich financed the S 1 50.000 film, to 
"create an evocative image of Hong Kong that 
would reveal the magic of the place." Unlike 
many other tourism films about Hong Kong that 
show the colony as a shopping mecca, this film fo- 
cuses on a young Chinese woman as she walks in 
modern clothes through city streets, then ritualis- 
tically puts on her costume for a performance in a 
traditional Chinese opera. There is no narration, 
no buying and selling, and not even the predict- 
able treatment of the girl as a sex object. 

Lettre d'Anjou, the winner of the prize for best 
film/video about France, was sponsored by the 
small, financially limited but forward-thinking 
tourist bureau of the Anjou region. Although 
made about a place with spectacularly beautiful 
scenery, the film focused on people throughout — 
artisans, horseback riders, actors, winemakers — 
and was the only entry that took the camera inside 
someone's home: it shows a man having cafe au 
lait in his dining room before biking to the Loire 
river to fish. Winner of the festival's special Prix 
du planete prize was Komodo: Our Ancient Trea- 
sure, a low-budget film about the rare Komodo 



- 




Komodo: Our Ancient 
Treasure, a film on the 
habitat of the rare 
Komodo lizards, explains 
how these animals could 
be endangered by too 
much tourism — an 
unusual assertion for a 
travel film to make. The 
potential ecological 
hazards of tourism is the 
point of the low-budget 
Indonesian film, which 
won a special prize at 
Trouville's travel film 
festival. 

Courtesy Indonesian Embassy. Paris 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



dragon (giant lizard), which was the only entry in 
the festival that directly commented on the poten- 
tial ecological dangers of tourism. 

Few US films or videos were submitted to the 
festival, either because the festival is new or 
because many US film- or videomakers fail to 
offer their work to smaller foreign festivals, fear- 
ing language or video-standard problems. In fact, 
most European film festivals, including the one in 
Trouville, have juries capable of judging films in 
English and accept entries in 16mm, as well as 
PAL, SECAM, or NTSC half-inch cassettes. 

The biggest problem the Trouville festival's 
organizers face is a lack of awareness among 
international film- and videomakers of the artistic 
and financial potential of travel films. Around 390 
million people traveled abroad in 1988 — spend- 
ing around $195-billion — and the international 
business/leisure travel industry is growing. In 
some developing countries, tourism may be the 
only industry that is growing. As a result, there is 
definitely an expanding international market for 
travel films. Distribution is usually arranged by 
funding organizations. The films or videos are 
sent to potential clients or travel agents, shown on 
airlines, or, increasingly, broadcast on TV, for 
example by England's Channel 4 and the BBC, 
France's La Sept/FR 3, or PBS's new Travels 
series. 

What about quality? Greverie sees the first 
evolution in travel films as a progression from 
simple techniques — the filmed slide show "bro- 
chure" — to sophisticated use of media designed 
to sell a place as though it were a product. The next 
stage, he believes, will be an increase in "expres- 
sionistic documentaries set in a certain place that 
might even have been shot without the goal of 
promoting tourism" but that give the viewer a 
sense of the special character of a place. This 
would parallel the evolution in the typical trav- 
eler, now much more worldly-wise than in the 
past, used to standard hotels and group tours but 
looking for something "different." 

This change in the travel film also reflects 
changing attitudes about tourism in developing 
countries. Economically poorer nations who leapt 
onto the tourism bandwagon early in the game 
learned that filling a formerly pristine setting with 
"international" resorts might have brought an 
initial wave of tourists, but that if tourists kept 
coming, it was for more than just standard ameni- 
ties. The most powerful tourist attraction any 
place not already on the international circuit can 
flaunt these days is the possibility of calling itself 
unspoiled. 

For Third World countries, tourism too often 
creates situations like that of the Masai in Kenya 
and Tanzania: a proud — and hungry — nomadic 
people have been forced to abandon their old 
ways, their trails have been cut off by plots of 
private or government-owned land, and their game 
concentrated into parks designed to attract afflu- 
ent tourists who will boost foreign-exchange 
revenues. The endangered African elephant is 
finally receiving extensive international press 



The Standby Program 

video access services for artists and independent producers 

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Although Hong Kong is shown as a 

shopping mecca in most tourism 

films, Behind me Mask reveals a 

different side. It follows the 

transformation of a young Chinese 

woman as she changes from her 

contemporary Western dress to an 

elaborate costume of traditional 

Chinese opera. 

Courtesy Hong Kong Tourist Association 



coverage (and more visits from tourists), the en- 
dangered Masai culture, very little. 

With the inevitable growth of international 
tourism and many economically fragile countries 
clearly in need of the financial boost that tourism 
can bring, it's time for a rear-guard action, for 
tourism development programs that are not aimed 
at turning everywhere in the world into imitation 
Miami Beaches. And films about a place that 
show its individual character can be a powerful 
means of promoting tourism that respects and 
conserves rather than spoils. 

The Indonesian film Komodo. submitted to the 
Trouville festival by Indonesia's tourism board, 
was the one film of many entries from developing 
nations that courageously did not depict the coun- 
try as a foreign tourist's haven of luxury hotels, 
souvenir handicrafts, and smiling natives. Instead, 
the film shows the giant Komodo lizard as it really 
is — big, prehistoric-looking, cannibalistic, dan- 
gerous, and surviving because the Indonesian 
island where Komodos live is well off the usual 
tourist routes. The film's Jakarta-based producers 
Gemini Satria Films wrote of their project, "We 
feel obliged, as the son of the country, to help 
preserve the nature." 

The film's informative, non-hype narration 
directly states that too many visits by humans 
could destroy the Komodo's habitat. Komodo, 
made in 16mm on a limited budget, has many 
technical problems but was admirable in its point 
of view: a rare animal — even an unlovely rare 
animal living on a lovely, "undeveloped" tropical 
island — should be protected. In addition, the film 
shows Indonesian scientists and guides who are 
experts on the Komodo. unlike most travel films 
which depict local populations only providing 
service for tourists. 

Many of the Trouville festival's entries were 
free of the stereotypes common to standard travel 
films, mainly because the organizers decided to 
create a festival that promotes good films about 
places, not unimaginative films that only treat 
surfaces. Greverie and his colleague Patrice Ber- 
nasconi chose a jury this year that was made up 
primarily of film producers rather than tourism 
officials, for example. This was a courageous 
move for a young film festival, since more fund- 
ing would probably have been available from 
tourism organizations if they were allowed to 
appoint their own representatives as jury mem- 




bers — as has been the case, apparently, with some 
other travel film festivals. 

The more complicated issue concerning travel 
films, of course, is whether tourism should be 
encouraged at all. No matter what is done to 
confine its spread, however, international tourism 
will continue to grow. Yet in spite of the tourist 
industry's history of cultural — and sometimes 
economic — destruction, tourism programs have 
recently been developed in various places that not 
only bring in needed income and jobs, but also 
help to conserve ecology and culture. Ecotourism, 
as this brand of travel is called, involves small, 
specialized tours that will have a low impact on the 
place being visited. The Indonesian government's 
plan to help save the Komodo through limited 
tourism is one example where much of the income 
will be funneled back into environmental protec- 
tion programs. Another is a project on Madagas- 
car designed to bring in a small number of visitors 
interested in the island's rare flora and fauna. A 
similar project in Costa Rica allows local farmers 
to remain on land designated as a nature preserve 
and trains the farmers in ecologically non- 
destructive modes of agriculture. 

A typical luxury resort, and the modern infra- 
structure needed to support it, is not only harmful 
to the environment and local culture but also im- 
mensely expensive to build and maintain. Many 
formerly lovely areas of the world are now clut- 
tered with half-built or gone-to-seed resorts that 
benefit no one — or with profitable resorts that 
benefit their owners but not the local population. 
Low-impact ecotourism could help alleviate these 
problems. According to Elizabeth Boo, who has 
written a report entitled Ecotourism: The Poten- 
tials and Pitfalls. "Most countries have only re- 
cently turned their attention to the potential of the 
ecotourism industry." The more publicity alterna- 
tive tourism programs receive, the more other 
places will decide to develop similar programs — 
before it's too late. Travel films are one powerful 
means of bringing the advantages of conserva- 
tion-oriented tourism to the attention of a wider 
audience. 

Emily Emerson is an editor at the International 
Herald Tribune in Paris and an independent video 
documentarian. She sened on the jury for the 
1989 Trouville International Festival of Tourist 
Film and Video. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



PRODUCT PLACEMENT 



AND CONS 






JANICE DRICKEY 




Radio Raheem's Nike shoes were among 
the promotional items that appeared in 
Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. 

Courtesy Universal Studios 



For two days during November 1989, the first 
national entertainment marketing conference, 
Building Profitable Promotions for the 1990s, 
unfolded at the Registry Hotel in Universal City, 
California. During lunch, over cocktails, or around 
groaning refreshment tables, hundreds of earnest, 
dark-suited men and women from advertising 
agencies, product placement houses, manufactur- 
ers, and studios praised each other for bold or 
unusual appearances of brand names in feature 
films, like the Pioneer laserdisk machines in 
Scrooged ("hands-on" placement — star handling 
brand name product on camera) or the 21 Miller 
beer appearances in Bull Durham ("signage" — 
prominent placement of brand name in a shot) or 
the Coke "verbal" (spoken reference to the prod- 
uct) in the movie Volunteers. In between the so- 
cial events they attended seminars on Product 
Placement; 900-number Hotlines; Retail Tie-Ins; 
Product Sampling; Video, Venue, and Music 
Sponsorship; and even Comedy as a Promotion 
Vehicle, featuring comic Richard Belzer. 

The premise of entertainment marketing is to 
use movies and television programs to sell fast 
food, beverages, packaged goods, pharmaceuti- 
cals, automobiles, as well as other goods and 
services. For the product placement slice of the 
entertainment marketing pie, advertisers will pay 
as much as $350,000 per product placed (Lark 
cigarettes in License to Kill). In turn, they are 
rewarded by impressive brand recall scores (as 
high as 50 percent for some placements), in- 
creased sales (the appearance of Reese's Pieces in 
E.T. boosted sales of the candy by more than 65 
percent), and access to new, hard-to-reach audi- 
ences. There's also "implied endorsement," a 
canon of product placement which says that any 
product associated with a charismatic person- 
age — fictional or real — gains desirability. 

"From the viewer's point of view, it's hidden 
advertising" is the criticism of this burgeoning 
activity voiced by Michael Jacobson, executive 
director of the Center for Science in the Public 
Interest (CSPI). CSPI, a nonprofit consumer 
advocacy organization, has petitioned the Federal 
Communications Commission and state attor- 
neys general to require that paid product place- 
ments in movies be disclosed to theater and tele- 
vision audiences or be banned completely. "It is 
the very fact that audiences are unsuspecting that 
makes this form of advertising so attractive," 
continued Jacobson. "Because the glamour of 
Hollywood films and the big name stars rubs off 
on the product, it's probably much more persua- 



sive than a typical 30-second spot that people 
discount heavily." 

With the success of low-budget, independent 
features like Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and 
Cannes winner sex, lies and videotape, marketers 
recognize an opportunity to hawk their wares in a 
way that is demographically astute and cost-effi- 
cient. Monty Ross, coproducer of Do the Right 
Thing — which featured Miller beer, Nike tennis 
shoes, and other brand name items — employed 
Unique Product Placement, a product placement 
house, to solicit manufacturers. Although Ross 
said he would not allow all brand names in his 
films (no "Coors beer and certain alcoholic bever- 
ages"), he believes the advantages product place- 
ment offers filmmakers make it a practice inde- 
pendents should seriously consider: 

• Convenience (or one-stop shopping). For an on- 
camera appearance of their brand name product, 
companies provide "free" props, as well as sodas 
and snacks for the set. They may outfit everyone 
from the producer to the gaffer in "small ticket" 
items like tennis shoes and jackets. 

• Reduced production costs. One well-placed shot 
of a brand name airline can net plane tickets to 
distant locations. Mention a hotel and get free 
rooms. The same applies to thousands of dollars 
worth of cars, tires, computers, and other types of 
hardware. When not dealing with "big ticket 
items," manufacturers are often willing to pay 
fees for their product to be handled, worn, or 
shown in a realistic setting on camera. 

• Tie-in promotion. What entertainment marketer 
Rusty Citron called OPM — other people's mar- 
keting. Goodyear, for example, provides $40,000 
worth of tires for a film. When the picture comes 
out, Goodyear includes "as seen in ..." in their ads. 
All manufacturers' promotional gambits are tied 
to the opening weekend of the film. At a time 
when marketing budgets nearly equal production 
budgets, this type of "back end promotion" is 
perhaps the most compelling reason for indepen- 
dents to consider product placement. 

When Miller brewery spokesman Douglas 
Christoph received a letter from Spike Lee's 40 
Acres and a Mule Productions about placing Miller 
beer in Lee's film, he felt it was too good an 
"ethnic opportunity" to pass up. (Oddly, during 
his presentation at the conference, Christoph twice 
referred to the audience for the film as Hispanic.) 
"We saw genius in Spike Lee and saw the movie 
as a great way to secure good trademark visibility 
for our products," Christoph explained from his 



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offices at the Miller Brewing Company in Mil- 
waukee, Wisconsin, where he is manager of Mo- 
tion Picture and Video Entertainment . 

Copies of the script w ere read by Christoph and 
by Miller's LA marketing representatives, Norm 
Marshall and Associates. Placement opportuni- 
ties were earmarked and discussed with director 
Lee. Four weeks before the start of principal 
photography, a deal was struck. Miller's corpo- 
rate offices contacted their local distributors who 
worked with the production crew to, as Christoph 
put it, "secure realistic beery kind of exposures." 

40 Acres' Ross and Miller's Christoph both 
insisted that the script had not been changed to 
accommodate the placement of the product, nor, 
they said, had shots been altered to feature the 
Miller name more prominently. The "verbal" in 
the film, in which a character demands Miller 
High Life by name, was, Christoph said, an on^set 
ad-lib that "caught us all kind of off-guard." 

More typically, though, marketers are not shy 
about asking for what they consider to be neces- 
sary changes on behalf of their clients. Rough 
language or risque action in the vicinity of the 
product is not appreciated, nor any derogatory 
references to the product. Rusty Citron, president 
of the Entertainment Marketing Division at Don 
Jagoda Associates in Encino, California, ex- 
plained, "I've been involved personally in a number 
of these things where you turn around [to the 
filmmaker] and say, 'You know, my client would 
really like to feature their product in your film, but 
this scene is a little tough. Can we change the 
language? Or how would you change this shot,'" 
so it doesn't reflect badly on the client? 

Eva Marie Steortz, the pert, young director of 
research at Krown. the entertainment marketing 
division in Culver City, California of Young & 
Rubicam Advertising, laughed as she recalled, 
"There was a scene in a film involving a condom, 
which was very clever and very cute, but at the end 
the couple finds a hole in it. We said, 'The condom 
manufacters would love to work with you, but we 
can't if you leave in the joke about the condom 
with a hole. '" When the filmmaker chose to leave 
in the scene, she lost the client as a result. "The 
way it works is not just paying money to have your 
product [in a picture], "CSPI'sJacobson lamented, 
"but these agencies rewrite the script, or you shoot 
from a slightly different angle. It really is, I think, 
a sickening kind of element in the movie indus- 
try." 

A rash of takeovers concentrating ownership 
of communication facilities in the hands of a few 
behemoth corporations has also affected what 
products get shown (or not shown), and how they 
are exhibited. Perhaps the best example is Coca- 
Cola, which, until recently, owned Embassy 
Communications, Columbia Pictures, and Merv 
Griffin Enterprises. Coke removed all Pepsi soft 
drink machines from the studio lots, strongly 
discouraged the use of Pepsi products in films and 
television shows produced by these companies, 
and refused to allow Pepsi to be served at business 
meetings or social functions sponsored by the 



studios. At the same time, a Coca-Cola represen- 
tative said Coke products showed up regularly in 
company-produced vehicles. 

Along with corporate takeovers, there is a trend 
toward international coproductions. This combi- 
nation has entertainment marketers excitedly 
discussing opportunities for "global penetration" 
of their products. In response, Jacobson protests, 
"Our lives are being totally infused by corporate 
America. Everything is commercialized. The 
whole goal of everything is to sell products and 
the movie industry is doing its share." Jacobson 
expressed his support for legislation prohibiting 
all tobacco product advertising and promotion in 
theatrical films that wind up on television, where 
they might be seen or heard by viewers under the 
age of 18. The Protect Our Children from Ciga- 
rettes Act of 1989 (HR 1250), introduced in 
Congress by Representative Thomas Luken, blasts 
cigarette product placement that — at no addi- 
tional cost to advertisers — gets around the ban 
prohibiting tobacco advertising on television. 

Although agreeing "for cigarettes, maybe it 
does make sense," Krown's Steortz said that, in 
general, entertainment marketers hope the new 
restrictions will not happen. "We like it more the 
way it is," Steortz commented. "And we don't 
really talk to consumer publications at all on that 
type of thing. The less people know the better, 
actually." 

Jacobson believes product placement could be 
a medium "with diminishing returns. As more 
people understand that these are ads, the less 
influence they'll have," he remarked. "And at 
some point, people will start thinking, 'Wow, this 
is just like TV.'" But Christoph of Miller Beer 
disagreed: "I think people are getting enjoyment 
out of spotting brand name products in films right 
now." 

Entertainment marketer Citron took a prag- 
matic position. "The motion picture industry is 
evolving into a version of the packaged goods 
business. And it ' s a lot harder to get films mounted 
today. The up side is greater, and the down side — 
the risk — is also greater. Placement has its role 
and it has its place, but it's not omnipresent; it's 
not a panacea. It is as much a part of the process of 
making movies as a lighting director is, a scenic 
director, a script girl [sic], or a director of photog- 
raphy, or an editor, or anybody else.... It's part of 
the fabric." 

Jacobson believes most independent producers 
will resist the temptation to pepper their films with 
brand names. "My guess is that most of the good 
independent film producers would object to prod- 
uct placement on philosophical grounds," he said. 
"They want to convey their own thoughts through 
the film and aren't going to compromise it for the 
sake of shooting that Philip Morris billboard." But 
in the face of staggering production costs and the 
need for extravagant promotional schemes, pur- 
ism may be a luxury few independents can afford. 

Janice Drickey is a freelance writer covering 
theater, film, and television in Los Angeles. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



Getting the Goods 



The entertainment marketers interviewed 
offered the following dos and don'ts for 
independents participating in product place- 
ment deals: 

• Lead time: Ideally, four to eight weeks 
prior to the start of production. 

• Angle: If there is a "natural" opportunity 
to feature a particular product in your film, 
think about what advantage it offers a 
major advertiser (particular audience 
segment, connection to star, unusual pub- 
licity) before approaching the manufac- 
turer with that special marketing niche in 
mind. Also, make sure the representation 
is a positive one. "[Filmmakers] have to 
imagine that the companies they're going 
through are as protective of their product 
as the filmmaker is of his or her film," 
entertainment marketer Rusty Citron 
stressed. 

• Integrity: If you have any thoughts of 
taking the money and running, think again. 
To make sure that their product is shown 
as promised and is featured in a positive— 
or at least a neutral — light, most compa- 
nies will hold product placement fees in 
escrow until they can see the final cut. Dis- 
gruntled manufacturers can resort to what 
Christoph called "leverage tactics"— 
threatening to pull proposed promotion, 
nonpayment of promised funds, and re- 
fusing to fund future projects. And, with 
the exception of "small ticket" items given 
as gifts (tennis shoes, jackets), always 
return the items loaned. Citron said it is the 
filmmaker who deliberately designs a 
scene because he or she wants some tele- 
vision sets for the home"besmirchesevery- 
body in the industry." 

*« Research: Taking time to learn a little 
about the industry you're dealing with 
could save you money. For example, the 
difference between an entertainment 
marketing broker and an agent. Citron 
again: "An agent for a company gets a 
retained fee to perform a service. A broker 
for the company is somebody who is 
making money if the placement is ac- 
cepted. So brokerage fees run anywhere 
from lOpercent to 50percent. ..[if) you're 
going to charge $100,000 for placement, 
and you're going to go to a broker, that 
broker may then turn around and charge 
the client $150,000 and take $50,000 for 
the service." 



JD 



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APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



FIELD REPORTS 



THE SIMULATED SOCIETY 

Four Installations at the AFI Video Festival 



BILL HORRIGAN 



Less by design than by default, the American 
Film Institute Video Festival has become this 
country's principal annual occasion tor indepen- 
dent video producers, programmers, and educa- 
tors to gather. Approaching its tenth anniversary 
in the fall of 1 990. the AFI event has evolved into 
the typical festival form of about a half a dozen 
distinct programs of single-channel screenings of 
national and international works (usually selected 
by outside curators), plus a number of symposia 
and lecture-demonstrations on issues more or less 
related to the thematic tracks. Beyond that, the 
festival has for the last several years supported a 



In Julia Seller's video 

installation Security By 

Julia, VI, a guard clad in 

candy-pink uniform 

checks out the pictures 

spewed out by a video 

printer, a device that 

allowed gallery visitors 

to take home souvenir 

copies of surveillance 

images of themselves. 

Courtesy videomaker 




few video installations, some original and some 
produced elsewhere. Four were on view during 
the 1989 festival, held from October 26 to 29 of 
last year. 

Kate Horsfield and Ellen Spiro'sAp/;79, 79S9. 
Washington, DC. consisted of two monitors flank- 
ing one of the entrances to the festival's main 
screening space. What viewers saw on one moni- 
tor was documentary footage of a spontaneous 
demonstration held on the steps of the Depart- 
ment of Justice by reproductive rights activists in 
Washington for the National March for Women's 
Lives. On the adjacent monitor were views of the 
same events seen from slightly different vantage 
points — the effect was that of seeing an approxi- 
mate shot/reverse-shot, though never precisely in 
sync with each other. That nonsync aspect ex- 
tended to the soundtrack, which consisted of the 



agitational/celebratory chanting and singing of 
the protesters. What was heard from the speaker 
of one monitor was both echoed and foretold from 
the other as the same event advanced, receded, 
played, and replayed itself out. Beyond providing 
a constant acoustic reminder to festival partici- 
pants of the stakes involved in the April march, 
Horsfield and Spiro's installation functioned as a 
forceful example of how video has remained 
necessary — some might argue become even more 
central — to political actions, particularly in light 
of broadcast television's disinclination to provide 
such documentation. 

Placed at the other end of the lobby from the 
Horsfield-Spiro piece sat a single monitor on 
which appeared a live image from a surveillance 
camera placed in an upper corner of a room 
elsewhere in the building. In that room was Shu 
Lea Cheang ' s Making News/Making History : Live 
from Tiananmen Square, which viewers in the 
lobby were able to "see" from the point of view of 
a surveillance camera long-shot while standing 
one floor above the actual installation. The sur- 
veillance camera also recorded everyone who 
entered the room that housed the installation, 
thereby casually evoking the important reliance 
the Chinese state placed on surveillance apparatus 
for pursuing and policing the "criminal" student 
activists. This component of Cheang's piece was 
essentially a rhetorical, improvised addition to the 
main body of the work, which consisted of an 
enclosed room in which viewers were confronted 
by a row of four monitors playing four separate 
channels of text and image addressing the events 
leading to the brutal crackdown of the Chinese 
students' democracy movement in Tiananmen 
Square on June 4 of last year. 

The fifth component of the installation was, in 
fact, the first part of it viewers actually saw: 
placed directly outside the door one used to enter 
the room was another monitor showing a short 
loop of news fragments of US coverage of the 
events: Dan Rather in Beijing being shut down by 
the police, Henry Kissinger holding forth from a 
New York TV studio, and so on. That this monitor 
was placed outside the room, directly in front of 
the door through whose w indow one could see the 
other four monitors, provided an evocative simu- 
lation of the effect one felt originally while at- 
tempting to watch the events in Tiananmen Square 
unfold from another country 's distance. Inside the 
room on the four monitors, fragmented images of 
the struggle towards democracy were being played 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



out via amateur and broadcast terms of represen- 
tation. As such, these images were contradictory, 
competitive, in opposition, while from the dis- 
tance of "outside," viewers had to rely on the 
translation of these events into the familiar terms 
of US television. 

The apparatus and ideology of surveillance 
imagery was also central to Julia Scher's instal- 
lation. Security by Julia, VI, the latest in her 
ongoing series of site-specific pieces. Situated 
directly inside the main entrance to AFI's Warner 
Communications Building, Scher's installation 
involved a row of nine small monitors hung slightly 
above eye-level, on which appeared surveillance 
imagery transmitted from eight cameras she had 
placed at various sites throughout the AFI cam- 
pus. At these locations, she had posted signs 
warning individuals that they had entered a zone 
being patrolled by closed circuit television. Di- 
rectly below the monitors was a station overseen 
by an incongruously pink-clad guard, with a small 
monitor on which one could observe one's own 
image at that moment, alongside a video printer 
allowing the viewer to obtain a "souvenir" print- 
out of that image. That Scher's piece allowed 
viewers to retrieve and "own" a fragment of 
themselves via a hard copy video portrait high- 
lighted the convergence of narcissism and voy- 
eurism sometimes played upon by surveillance 
systems. In that respect, her piece complemented 
the more mortifying implications of Cheang's, in 
which surveillance systems were shown to be 
tools for policing and apprehension — matters, 
literally, of life and death. 

Bruce and Norman Yonemoto's Framed, seen 
originally at the Long Beach Museum of Art last 
spring, was a meditation on the experience and 
media representation of the Japanese American 
internment camps during World War II. When 
viewers entered the installation, they stood in 
front of a mirror, reflecting a blue-sky scenic drop 
on the facing wall. As the lights dimmed, the 
mirror was revealed to be a two-way glass, and 
they could see what lay "behind" it: Playing on a 
monitor in the far distance were outtakes of a 
documentary produced by the War Relocation 
Authority, showing a series of staged events de- 
signed to describe the normal domestic routines of 
the Japanese American internees (who themselves 
were not permitted to have cameras ) . On scrims in 
the middle distance were projected slides of blown- 
up details from that footage, capturing and freez- 
ing moments that give the lie to the fictions of 
normalcy the documentary was produced to es- 
tablish. The Yonemotos, whose parents were Nisei 
internees, rendered the experience of the intern- 
ment camps in the intertwined terms of hallucina- 
tion and memory, distilling it into a series of 
wholly silent fragments that both recall and sub- 
stitute for the experience of internment. In the 
process, they provided an unemphatic simulation 
of the framing tendencies of any collective act of 
memory. 

Loosely regarded as a suite, these four installa- 



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APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




Images of the Japanese American 
internment camps, such as this 
reframed War Relocation Agency 
photograph horn Topaz, Utah, form 
the basis of Bruce and Norman 
Yonemoto's installation Framed. 

Courtesy American Film Institute 



tions all evinced a concern for the ownership of 
one's own image. Or, rather, in its own way each 
work posited the image of the social body as the 
privileged site in the battle waged by the state to 
construct and thereby control the individual. The 
AFI Video Festival' s programming priorities over 
the past few years have favored the presentation of 
politicially and socially-engaged single-channel 
works. The presentation of these four installations 
carried on that agenda by other means. 

Bill Horrigan is media curator at the Wexner 
Center for the Visual Arts in Columbus, Ohio. 



DEBUT OF JAPANESE DOCUMENTARY FEST 



GORDON HITCHENS 



The Yamagata International Documentary Film 
Festival debuted October 10 to 15, 1989, with 
screenings in the city 's specially equipped Cen- 
tral Public Hall. Twelve thousand citizens, pay- 
ing modest fees, attended the day-long and 
evening screenings, including documentary 
superstars from around the world. 

An international jury of seven evaluated 21 
films and gave its Grand Prix, the Robert and 
Frances Flaherty Award of three million yen 
(approximately 145 yen=Sl ), to the Soviet film 
The Crossroads Street, by Ivars Seleckis of 
Riga, Latvia. In addition, five other prizes were 
awarded, totalling 2,200,000 yen. Flaherty's 
daughter Monica was present at Yamagata, as 
was documentary producer Richard Leacock, 
who had been cinematographer of Flaherty's 
last film. The Louisiana Story, in 1948. Lea- 
cock also served on Yamagata 's jury. He and 
Monica Flaherty were childhood pals in Eng- 
land before World War II, and they introduced 
the festival's restrospective tribute to Flaherty. 

Other US documentaries at Yamagata included 
Azul, by Roland Legiardi-Laura; Kathryn Tav- 
erna and Alan Adelson's Lodz Ghetto; Plain Talk/ 
Common Sense (Uncommon Senses), by Jan Jost; 
Weapons of the Spirit , by Pierre Sauvage (a copro- 
duction with France); Nestro Almendros and Jorge 




UUa'sNobody Listened {acoproduclion with Mex- 
ico); and Route One, winner of the festival's 
second prize, by Robert Kramer, another French 
coproduction. 

In addition to the competition and the Flaherty 
retrospective, a dozen other documentaries were 
shown in an information section, as well as a six- 



Director Joris Ivens, playing the Old 
Man in his final film, A Tale of the 
Wind, stands before a man in the 
moon borrowed from Georges Melies. 

Courtesy Film Society o( Lincoln Center 



hour salute to Japanese documentary — from 
the Russo-Japanese War of 1 905 to the present. 
A special homage was made to the late Joris 
Ivens, who died in June at age 91. Ivens' last 
film, A Tale of the Wind, produced in 1988 with 
his partner and wife Marceline Loridan, was 
introduced at Yamagata by her. 

The festival paid for translation and the 
technical work of subtitling all non-Japanese 
films in Japanese. Additionally, all non-Eng- 
lish films were translated into English via si- 
multaneous headphones, in effect making every 
effort to make all films shown at the festival 
understandable in English. 

A medium-sized city near Tokyo, Yam- 
agata initiated the documentary festival to com- 
memorate the city's one-hundredth birthday, 
one of 1 9 cultural events organized to observe the 
centennial. The festival will continue biannually. 

Gordon Hitchens retires in June as film professor 
at C.W. Post I Long Island University. He is US 
assistant to the Berlin International Film Festival 
and Nyon Documentaiy Festival. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



TALKING HE 



DOUBLE VISION 

Teamwork on Eyes on the\Prize II 



RENEE TAJIMA 



Eyes on the Prize II, the public television series 
presented by WGBH-Boston on African Ameri- 
cans' struggle for civil rights and self-determina- 
tion, is a unique event in US television for a num- 
ber of reasons. Like its precursor, Eyes on the 
Prize I, it is a major series by a minority-run 
production company, aptly called Blackside, Inc., 
led by the series' maverick executive producer 






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Power!, collaboratively produced by Louis 
Massiah and Terry Rockefeller, 
concentrates on the fight for community 
control. One result was the election of Carl 
Stokes as mayor of Cleveland — the first 
black politician to win this office in a 
major U.S. city. 

Photo UPl/Bettmann Newsphotos, courtesy WGBH 



Henry Hampton. In an industry that shies away 
from provocative subject matter, Eyes deals head 
on with issues of racism, injustice, and social 
rebellion in our not so distant past. 

The production process itself represents an 
experiment in cross-cultural, collaborative 
filmmaking. For Eyes II, Hampton configured 
four producer partnerships, each consisting of one 
African American and one white producer, who 
were responsible for two shows in the eight-part 
series. It is a structure that seems to have been born 
out of the principles of the political movement the 
series documents. Ideally, the production teams 
would form a dialectic approach to filmmaking 
and precipitate a kind of creative tension not 
possible in the conventional hierarchy of docu- 
mentary production: one program, one vision. 



The black-white configuration of the teams would 
seem to deepen the dialectical nature of the proc- 
ess, giving it the benefit of two perspectives. 

In realistic terms, though, collaboration can be 
a dicey proposition. The production team assign- 
ments were made by Hampton, who paired to- 
gether producers who did not necessarily know 
each other prior to being hired for the job. Like 
putting two lead singers together on stage, this 
arrangement could eithercreate sweet harmony or 
discordant noise. From the results thus far, it 
seems that the collaborations have in fact resulted 
in another round of critically-acclaimed and no 
doubt award-winning shows for Blackside. I talked 
to three producers about their experience with this 
process: Louis Massiah and Terry Rockefeller, 
who were responsible for the programs Power! 
and A Nation of Law?, and Thomas Ott, who 
joined the team after production was underway. 

Their collaboration began with the "Eyes 
School" for all the program staff, a strategy used 
often at WGBH, as it was for Eyes I and the series 
Vietnam: A Television History. The curriculum 
consisted of six full days of meetings, readings, 
and lectures with scholars and activists who dis- 
cussed the broad historical context of the series, 
including political and economic issues. At the 
conclusion, the producers were given outlines for 
the eight programs and their assignments. Mas- 
siah and Rockefeller were given Power! (1966- 
68), which looks at the emergence of the Black 
Power movement in Oakland, California, and the 
Ocean Hill/Brownsville experimental school dis- 
trict in Brooklyn, New York, and A Nation of 
Law? (1968-71), chronicling the government's 
response to that movement, focusing on Coin- 
telpro, the assassination of Black Panthers Fred 
Hampton and Mark Clark, and the Attica Prison 
uprising. Ott was originally hired as an editor for 
both shows, but later became a coproducer on A 
Nation of Law? during its postproduction phase. 

A successful collaboration depends on friend- 
ship combined with creative and professional 
chemistry. You must, first of all, get along and 
trust each other. Then there is the matter of a 
shared aesthetic vision and, in the case of social- 
issue films, similar political views, as well as the 
capacity to work out a division of labor. But 
Massiah and Rockefeller had never even met each 
other before the production school. Upon receiv- 
ing their assignment, they were left to work out the 
partnership and produce the shows on deadline. 
Says Massiah of the experience, "Collaboration is 



APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 






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a joy. but the two collaborators have to make that 
choice. When someone else has made the decision 
to put you together, you have to figure out how to 
complement each other and work together." 

Like most of the other teams, their solution was 
for each producer to take the lead on one show at 
the outset — somewhat of a dilution of the collabo- 
rative ideal. For example, as primary producer of 
Power!, Massiah did most of the research and 
writing, conducted the bulk of the interviews, and 
structured the show, consulting closely with 
Rockefeller as well as series staff people and 
advisors. These roles were reversed for the pro- 
duction of A Nation of Law"? 

Both producers were present during shooting. 
With two producers on the set. conflicts might 
seem inevitable. But these were mitigated by the 
stylistic limitations imposed by the series" estab- 
lished format: archival footage intercut with 
straight interviews and no verite or B-roll mate- 
rial. Apart from lighting and composition, there 
weren't many aesthetic decisions to make. Con- 
tent, however, was the domain of the lead pro- 
ducer. Says Rockefeller. '"It's difficult even when 
one producer has the lead, since your name will be 
on the show. Whenever you do things by commit- 
tee, if s a very slow, painful process." 

One sticking point for the producers was the 
assumptions behind the integrated teams. "It was 
frustrating to think, the way the teams were set up. 
your role should be [to provide] the white woman's 
perspective." says Rockefeller. "The expectations 
of having people represent those backgrounds 
didn*t automatically mean those perspectives 
would be resolved." Massiah agrees. "You don"t 
necessary get a black and white or male and 
female perspective. Men don't necessarily take up 
a chauvinistic position, and hopefully everyone 
will take up an enlightened position. Another 
problem with the teams is that they are built on a 
black-white dichotomy, which denies the impor- 
tance and significance of Native Americans. Latin- 
os, and Asian Americans in the struggle. Eyes 
claims to be more than Afro-American history, 
with ramifications on a national scale, but it still 



A Nation of Law?, 
Massiah, Rockefeller, 
and Thomas Ott's 
program for Eyes on the 
Prize II, recounts how 
Black Panther Party 
leaders Fred Hampton 
(with mic) and Mark 
Clark were gunned 
down in a pre-dawn 
raid by Chicago police 
acting on information 
supplied by an FBI 
informant. 

Photo Block Star, courtesy WGBH 



leaves others out of the framework." 

However. Rockefeller admits that there are 
intangible benefits that emerge from even the 
limited diversity of the production teams. She 
cites her work with Massiah on the Attica Prison 
story in A Nation of Law? "Over and over again," 
Rockefeller remembers. "Louis would say we're 
getting too hung up on the media story of the 
Attica uprising — what was in the headlines — and 
are ignoring the ongoing movement that was 
already in place. Perhaps as someone from the 
black community with a different understanding 
of the significance of Attica. Louis was able to 
change my values in terms of the way I looked at 
the footage." Says Thomas Ott. who became copro- 
ducer for A Nation of Law? later in the process 
(since Power! ran beyond deadline, Massiah and 
Rockefeller could only work part-time on the 
second show's editing ). "I made a very conscious 
effort to run ideas by Jackie Shearer [an African 
American producer of two other Eyes shows], 
because I wanted to maintain a black perspec- 
tive." 

Shearer seemed to serve as something of a 
conscience for the series in terms of gender issues. 
Rockefeller remembers, "Jackie was particularly 
strong in dealing with the women's role in the 
movement. Men's names were constantly in the 
headlines during the era. but that had more to do 
with the sexism of the media at the time, and she 
wanted to make sure we didnt replicate those 
attitudes." According to Massiah. this type of 
cross-pollination between production teams was 
one of the series' strengths. For example. 
Rockefeller and Massiah even switched stories 
with fellow producers Sam Pollard and Sheila 
Bernard, swapping the 1972 National Black Po- 
litical Convention in Gary. Indiana, for the Attica 
uprising story, for which Pollard and Bernard had 
already shot interv iews. "The producers used each 
other as resources." says Ott. "They all had a 
commitment to the subject and were available on 
a daily basis to brainstorm." 

Like the production phase, the collaborative 
aspects of postproduction had its benefits and 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



drawbacks. At this stage, as Rockefeller described 
it. "the time when most of the struggles take place, 
when you have to cut down from 90 to 60 min- 
utes," more people were involved in giving input. 
There were periodic screenings and consultations 
with Hampton, outside advisors, and series staff, 
like writer Steven Fayer and associate producer 
and veteran civil rights activist Judy Richardson. 
As executive producer, Hampton left specific cuts 
to the teams. "Henry was not hands-on," says Ott. 
"He gave general responses about clarity, bal- 
ance, emotional impact. But he would leave it up 
to the producers to figure out how to fix prob- 
lems." 

"It's very different from having one person's 
vision," says Massiah of the compromises pro- 
ducers faced. According to Ott, as editor and 
coproducer he found the script discussions to be 
the toughest challenge. "At that point people's 
concerns resurface," he recalls. "As a committee, 
you try to please everyone, usually by adding 
narration lines. I was fighting hard to keep the 
narration sparse." Massiah agrees, "At script lock, 
you're concerned with more than grammatical 
revisions. You're arguing for the political sense of 
the piece." 

Ironically, the three producers cited the large 
public screenings of their rough cuts as one of the 
most exciting and useful stages of the process. All 
of the programs were screened during consecu- 
tive days for an audience of series personnel, 
advisors, public television representatives, and 
friends. "It was extraordinarily helpful," says 
Massiah. "Those sessions gave me a lot of strength. 
When people have an analytical understanding of 
the subject, it really helps you decide which way 
the film should go." Rockefeller had a similar 
reaction: "The advisors helped to mediate discus- 
sions among team members. It gave you someone 
else who could articulate your point of view." 

It is, perhaps, this pool of talent that defined the 
chemistry of Eyes and made the collaboration 
palatable to producers accustomed to working 
independently. By nature, independents bristle at 
the thought of executive overview. But a smart 
executive producer who knows his audience and 
knows filmmaking is another story. "Henry has 
the ability to come back and watch the film time 
and time again with fresh eyes," says Rockefeller. 
"And he has an extraordinarly high standard of 
accuracy and drama" — a combination that is no 
easy task to achieve. Fayer, an Emmy Award- 
winning writer who coauthored the book Voices 
of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights 
Movement with Hampton, was on call to work 
with the producers on script revisions. And there 
were Richardson and a heavy-weight crew of 
advisors. "When you care about this history," says 
Massiah, "and you're able to talk to people who 
spent years living the history, you feel privileged. 
And our thinking as producers grew as a result." 



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THE INDEPENDENT 23 



IN FOCUS 



STACKED BULLETS AND DIVINE WIND 

The Sound Design of Romero 



LUCY KARHI 



"Sound design is 
not just a question 
of putting the gun 
shot in the track 
to mcrtch a gun 
being fired. It's a 
question of how 
strong the gun 
shot is in terms of 
feeling. xx 



To try to describe the look of sound in a feature 
film maybe impossible. But the concept of sound 
design and its contribution to the impact of a film 
can be better understood by the work done on the 
narrative feature Romero, which tells the story of 
Archbishop Oscar Romero's struggle to over- 
come the violence and brutality of the National 
Guard in El Salvador. Produced by Father Ell- 
wood Kieser and Paulist Pictures on a budget of 
between $3- and $4-million, this dark tale pre- 
sents a serious dialogue about the search for 
justice and freedom for an oppressed people. 
Some of the most haunting images in the film, for 
example, show children as they pick through 
garbage mixed with human remains or confront a 
naked dead body lying in the street. 

When sound designer Edward Beyer became a 
key member of the creative team headed by Aus- 
tralian director John Duigan, he presented his 
design concept, telling him, "I want to make the 
audience feel that they are in the center of every- 
thing happening, just like the people in El Salva- 
dor, and they can't escape it." In order to create 
this kind of cinematic space, Beyer decided to 
rerecord the sound of certain scenes in layers, 
much like a music recording session using a 24- 
track recorder. 

In one crowd scene with cheering, protesting, 
and crying voices, the original production track 
was unusable due to generator noise. Says Beyer, 
"We handled the recording session a little differ- 
ently than a normal crowd recording session. I 
wanted everything to be in stereo because I wanted 
the track to be 'big.' 'Big' covers the gamut from 
many, to a few, to specific people crying out their 
lines." Sound editor Robert Yano contacted local 
Latino groups who provided almost 100 people 
for the recording session. Beyer continues, "I had 
four pairs of stereo microphones set up in the 
studio. Each mike was pointed in a different 
direction, and these were patched into the 24- 
track recorder. Twenty people were placed in the 
four corners of the studio. Then while we ran the 
film, I gave each corner a time and a place to 
scream. Next, small groups would chant the word 
'freedom,' and this chanting would cut through 
the screaming. Then 10 women were given spe- 
cific lines to scream out, and these screams were 
heard in close-up and long shot with a slight 
reverb. This layering takes away the feeling of 
sameness that exists in many crowd scenes we see 
in films today." 

According to Lewis Abel, another producer on 
Romero, "In the last 10 years sound design has 



emerged as a new film credit. There's a reflective 
input from the designer, and design itself has an 
almost subliminal effect on the audience. Because 
of the nature of our story and the shooting style, 
we knew that sound design would help us control 
the pacing of the film. We knew that Ed had a feel 
for the story, and he would have solutions for 
pacing the film." 

With more than 25 years in the feature film 
industry, Beyer's experience includes noted work 
as supervising sound editor on America, America, 
music editor on The Miracle Worker, and as 
picture editor on A Thousand Clowns, Short Eyes, 
Alambrista, and We Are the Children. More re- 
cent credits for his work on sound tracks are The 
Cotton Club, Scaiface, and Power. 

With both industry savvy and a little luck, he 
played a major role in securing the use of Sprocket 
Systems, the postproduction division of Lucasfilm, 
for Romero. "While I was working on the film 
Deadlock, by chance I met Steve Sutter, one of the 
engineers from Lucas, wind surfing off the Berke- 
ley pier. We talked and he said they could give me 
a good deal on a budget. Lucas was quiet after 
Roger Rabbit, and Indiana Jones hadn't started 
yet. So I called up production manager Tom 
Kobayashi and we worked out a deal. When the 
possibility of Romero turned up, I arranged a 
meeting between Kobayashi and the producers 
Mike Rhodes, Kieser, and Abel. The deal was set, 
and we ended up doing all the postproduction 
sound work, mixing, and sound effects on the 
Lucas ranch." This meant that Beyer was able to 
use the staff and facility to create original sounds 
and also had access to sound designer Ben Burt's 
extensive sound library. "If you remember the 
opening of Apocalypse Now, there's a great heli- 
copter sound of blades spinning around. I used the 
exact same sound for Romero." 

Initially, Beyer reviewed the production track 
to judge what sound was usable, what needed to be 
replaced, and what new sound should be added 
from sound libraries or created in a studio or 
location recording. He maintains that ambience — 
the general background sound which seemingly 
has nothing to do with the action on screen — has 
a creative potential for telling a story. "When you 
record ambient sound like rain, you can then take 
it back to the studio and sweeten it by slowing it 
down or speeding it up or mixing two rain sounds 
together and making one. Just by bringing up the 
level of a fan during the mixing may create a more 
ominous feeling in a scene." 

One especially significant sound in Romero 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 




For the feature film 
Romero, which starred 
Raul Julia (right), sound 
designer Edward Beyer 
makes the audience feel 
in the center of the film's 
action by creating a 
densely textured sound 
environment, laying on 
multiple tracks much like 
a music recording 
session. 

Courtesy Paulist Pictures 



came to be known as the divine wind. "Whenever 
we wanted the feeling of something ethereal or 
magical we'd play this wind sound. I created it by 
having three of us — Duigan, Abel, and myself — 
blow into a microphone. Then Randy Tom did a 
wonderful job mixing it on an eight-track re- 
corder. It's repeated throughout the film. We 
mixed for six weeks so by the end of the mix we 
were calling it the divine wind. As a matter of fact, 
John Duigan wanted a copy of it sent to him in 
Australia — that's how superb it was." 

The details of the sound effects are important in 
creating the overall design. Borrowing carefully 
constructed sound effects that he had originally 
created for the film Scarface, Beyer used what he 
calls "stacked bullets" in Romero. "When you 
hear the bullet sound, you're hearing the explo- 
sion of the hammer of the gun hitting the back of 
the bullet, then the sound of the bullet passing out 
of the barrel and then hitting the air. We stack all 
these sounds one on top of the next, and when we 
mix them it's like mixing a symphony orchestra." 

Since they did not have money in the budget to 
shoot scenes that actually included helicopters, 
the use of sound created their presence and added 
a sense of terror to one memorable scene in which 
the National Guard attacked worshippers taking 
communion. "Now that we have stereo sound and 
surround sound, I have the helicopters filling the 
theater. You don't just see the pictures on the 
screen, you hear the helicopters around you, and 
you feel as oppressed and frightened as the people 
of El Salvador." 

On Romero, the chief mixer at Sprocket Sys- 
tems was Gary Rydstrom. There was a sound 
effects mixer, a music mixer, and a dialogue 
mixer. The sound effects and dialogue were each 
premixed. Then the music was mixed with the 
premixes. In the final mix they were all put to- 
gether. Beyer counsels, "Sound design is not just 
a question of putting the gun shot in the track to 
match a gun being fired. It's a question of how 
strong the gun shot is in terms of feeling. The 
sound mixer does the level control and the contour 



of the sound, but I work with the texture of sound." 
In one of the film's most dramatic scenes, 
Romero's best friend, Father Grande, is mur- 
dered. "The scene begins with music running 
underneath the picture of a jeep going down a 
road," Beyer explains. "The music stops when the 
machine guns lace into the jeep. What do you hear 
next? Gunshots? No. You hear a distant buzzard 
and as the car halts you hear a couple of sweet 
birds to give it contrast. Then you hear the sound 
of sniffling children. One of the killers comes over 
to the car and tells the surviving children to run. 
Then he shoots a wounded boy who can't run 
away. I thought of using the sound of children's 
breath as the key sound. As they get up and run, 
you just hear their footsteps, their breathing, and 
the sound of the wind. Those are the three sounds 
I put in that scene to give it a certain character and 
power." 

Beyer emphasizes that sound is not just in there 
for effect but for emotion. "A lot of directors get 
bogged down in mechanics, and they lose track of 
their story. It's the story that counts." In Romero 
the creative challenge was to convey emotionally 
how Oscar Romero became a ray of hope for a 
people launched on a dark and troubled journey. 
Beyer's sound design not only meets the chal- 
lenge of storytelling but intensifies and unifies the 
artistic contributions of the cinematography and 
editing. 

Lucy Karhi currently teaches film and video 
production at the University of Kansas and is 
working on a book on contemporary documentary 
productions. 



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APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



MACHINE MONTAGE 

A Report on Desktop Video Editing Systems 




A complete Avid desktop video system 
includes (left to right): two Macintosh monitors 
(record and playback), a mouse and 
keyboard, a central processing unit, three 
hard disk storage modules, and two video 
decks. 



Courtesy Avid Technologies 



TERI ROBINSON 



UN'CE UPON A TIME. ONLY A LUCAS. A SPIELBERG. OR A TV 
studio could afford to own high-quality, computer-based editing systems. 
But the personal computer has changed all that, offering independents 
affordable, sophisticated versions of professional off-line editing systems. 
This development has been dubbed desktop video, borrowing the connota- 
tions of ease and accessibility associated with now ubiquitous desktop 
publishing systems. Greater power and functionality of the desktop have 
brought a number of benefits to the PC user who. in this case, becomes the 
video editor. And the enhanced editing capabilites. plus the nonlinearitv of 
the new s\ stems, have begun to seduce even those who previously shunned 
\ ideo in favor of film. 

Contributing to the acceptance of desktop editing systems in the video 
world is the popularity of the Apple Macintosh, which has been touted in 
many industries for its user-friendliness and high-resolution graphics. 
Software packages and hardware peripherals are quickly springing up 
around the Macintosh, and a whole slew of vendors have dedicated 
themselves to developing software-based editing systems on a Mac plat- 
form. More importantly, the video community and to some extent those who 
deal in film are embracing the Mac technology and looking closely at new 
developments to determine whether they will choose the Macintosh as the 
basis for their editing systems. 

Independent film- and videomakers represent a different kind of animal 
for the computer industry, one that has been much harder to market to. "The\ 
are not realh computer users." says one vendor representative. He explains 
that editors are interested in using the PC-based systems as editing ma- 
chines, not as computers. Issues of great importance to the average PC 
user — interoperability betw een disparate machines, word processing speed, 
and vendor label — are not the concerns of these independents. Interopera- 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



bility refers to the ability of one computer to 
"speak" or communicate w ith another. Although 
this is an easily accomplished feat between com- 
puters that come from the same vendor, the com- 
puter industry has had less success in enabling 
computers from disparate vendors to communi- 
cate. When international standards for communi- 
cations evolve more fully and when vendors show 
a commitment to open communications rather 
than proprietary concerns, this problem should be resolved. 

The film industry has long seen the natural fit between computers and 
editing equipment. After all. the editing process is number-intensive, while 
the computer's best subject has always been mathematics. But the changing 
role of computers in society and the proliferation of the PC. coupled with 
increased user literacy and rapid technological advances, have caused the 
film and video industries to sit up and take notice of the computer for assets 
beyond its number crunching capability. 

EditMaster and Calloway, and more recently the Comprehensive and 
Symphony systems, have proven to be popular (and cheap) PC-based 
editing solutions. Many of these have found a platform (a hardware base on 
which to build a system I w ith IBM equipment or IBM compatibles, due to 
a perception that IBM will remain viable while others falter. And there has 
been no shortage of software for IBM machines. 

Companies like Commodore International have also had tremendous 
success in offering editing systems. Commodore's Amiga, full) equipped 
for editing at under S4.000. is generally cited for its high-brow graphics 
capabilities. Filmmaker, videographer. and industry consultant Joe Conti in 
Los Angeles uses the Amiga for animation. Conti. who is currently working 
on the Warner Brothers film Dive, says the Amiga outdistances other PC- 
based systems w ith its graphics potential. "Amiga is ideal because it was 
created for the games environment." says Conti. Ironically, it is the Amiga's 
games reputation that at first caused more "serious" videographers to shun 
it. But Amiga quickly shrugged off its playful image and parlayed the 
strength of its graphics capabilities into other arenas. The system accom- 
plishes its graphic feats with custom chips which even the graphics- 
intensive Mac doesn't incorporate. 

Harvey Kopol of Kopol Films in New York City is currently working 
w ith three PC-based systems — EditMaster. Calloway, and Case machines. 
All three are IBM clone systems and range from inexpensive to moderately 
expensive. "They're cheap systems, depending on where you are and the 
range of things that you want to do." he says. According to Kopol. all of the 

APRIL 1990 



systems do almost everything that a CMX does, but "a CMX is $30,000 
while Calloway is $15,000 and EditMaster is $4,000 to $7,000. They all 
work basically the same. The keyboards [for each ] are almost identical to the 
CMX." But Kopol admits that the main benefit of the clone system is 
economic. Rob Oudendyke at Electric Film in New York concurs. "The 
Symphony is cheap and comes close to a CMX," he says. 

As prices fall and technology improves, a whole generation of PC-based 
editing systems, mostly contingent on IBM PCs or compatibles, is giving 
way to the easy-to-use and graphic-intensive Mac environment. Kopol was 
quick to point out that although he uses three IBM clone systems, he believes 
the Apple Macintosh will define the future of PC-based editing. New 
systems like Avid Technologies" Avid/1 Media Composer, EMc2, and 
Specialized Computer Systems' EditWorx rely heavily on the nonlinear 
editing trait that have made their film editing brethren so attractive. Earlier 
video editing systems were based on linear editing, which meant that editors 
had to overcome a number of obstacles and jump through hoops to do 
nonlinear editing, which is generally the favored method. In the new world 
of editing, the Mac reigns supreme. These systems let a videographer log all 
of his or her information about the film or tape — time, frame, shot, etc. — 
into the computer database, which then keeps track of the data with no 
further instruction. The expanded database plus other enhanced features 
means that the editor can construct an Edit Decision List (EDL) easily and 
uniformly to guide the eventual on-line editing process. 

The Changing Market 

A number of elements have made the computer editing system — or specifi- 
cally those based on the PC platform — a more attractive alternative to 
earlier video editing methods. The industry has seen technological advances 
that have bolstered the storage capabilities of the PC — laser disks, faster 
disk drives, and improved magnetic tape. Boosted video compression rates 
(granted, there is still a lot of work to be done here) have been integral in 
enhancing the full-motion image on a PC screen and enabling more infor- 
mation to be pressed onto a storage medium (e.g., disk, magnetic tape, or 
hard drive). Video compression is a method by which video images are 
coded into digital information. This process is invisible to the user and is 
done internally by the computer, carried out by a series of chips on a 
processor board. Because the information is digitized, which is already a 
form of compression, it can then be compressed again and recorded on a 
hard drive or laser disk. Current compression ratios are about 75 to one, but 
they are expected to reach greater levels in the next five years. Graphical 
user interfaces (GUI) have proliferated as well, making it easier for users to 
gain access to images and other data. 

Finally, a demand for PC-based video editing systems by Corporate 
America, mainly for intercompany video training and marketing purposes, 
has spurred research and development efforts among vendors. The fruits of 
those efforts have trickled down to other niches in the marketplace and 
contributed to the development of advanced, but affordable, editing equip- 
ment for independents. 

Behold, the Future Systems 

The newest systems claim to take the blood, sweat, and tears out of the 
editing process. Since all data can be stored in the computer via hard disks, 
laser disks, or magnetic tape, the editor can easily develop a log and an EDL. 
The new systems also endow editors w ith the potential to edit a project many 
different ways in the same amount of time it would take to edit a single 
version using more traditional means. Conceivably, if one version is not 
satisfactory, another can be used in its place. This is especially useful in 
situations where more than one person is involved in piecing together a 
video project. 

The portability of the systems also means that they can be taken almost 
anywhere that a power supply exists. This is where the "personal" aspect of 
the PC shines. The systems can be used at home, set up on an office desk, 
or shunted from city to city. "You can set them up in a more creative 



environment, like out in the country," says Canadian filmmaker Richard 
Bujold. Bujold. who has been testing the EMc2 recently purchased by the 
National Film Board of Canada, concedes that PC-based video editing will 
supplant older methods of editing. And he admits that he has been impressed 
with what the EMc2 and Avid systems are trying to accomplish, as well as 
the convenience of the systems. 

How They Work 

The Avid/1 Media Composer is a nonlinear system that the company says 
will provide 30 frames per second accuracy. The system was originally 
designed to operate on an Apollo computer, but was quickly adapted to the 
Mac platform. The system consists of a 32-bit 68030 process (an Apple Mac 
IIx unit); 5 Mbytes of RAM, 32-bit NuBus architecture, a board that serves 
as a videographics coprocessor, as well as a board that operates as an audio 
coprocessor. An SCSI bus for disk input/output and 600 Mbytes are also 
integral to the Avid/1 Media Composer, as is a deck control system and two 
monitors, one called "record" and one called "play." Editors on the Avid 
system can use a mouse — a handheld device that serves as an alternative to 
a keyboard. An editor manipulates the mouse to move a cursor on the 
computer screen, which generally shows a number of icons, or picture 
images, representing the functions the computer can run. After moving the 
cursor to the icon needed, the editor can click a button on the mouse to 
execute that function. 

Source material, both audio and video, is digitized and pressed onto disk 
drives. The video is compressed at a 75 to one ratio, and audio is captured 
at CD-quality rates. To snare the desired shots, an editor must open a "bin" 
(file) and move into the Capture mode. The editor automatically can achieve 
control of the VTRs via the computer. 

In the Capture mode, the graphics coprocessor offers full-resolution 
digital video. It also processes an NTSC signal through a monitor. While in 
the bin window an editor can rely on prompts on the screen to control 
virtually any professional deck. By entering a time code number, the editor 
prompts the deck to cue to that particular point. 

When the deck is in the play mode, the editor can choose the source 
material needed by clicking a digitize button at the beginning of a sequence 
and then once again at the end. Once the elements, or shots, have been 
digitized, the system allows the editor to then give them names, using an 
unlimited number of characters. 

On leaving the Capture mode, the system's other files, or bins, are used 
to assemble a project. Data appears in the bins in column form and can be 
viewed and tailored through a function called Custom View. The system 
offers pop-up menus, familiar to Macintosh users, to call up comments and 
shot titles without having to type them into the system. The information 
columns can be easily rearranged or certain ones can be "hidden" until they 
are needed again. Through a Frame View feature, an editor can look at any 
frame within a shot; an additional feature allows modification of the frame 
size. While in Frame View, shots can be rearranged to created a visual 
storyboard. Sorting can be accomplished rapidly and at a number of levels. 
In the same vein, a sifting function makes it easy to pull out shots that meet 
only certain criteria, such as all the long shots of outdoor scenes. 

The next mode is the Edit and Assemble window where clips are pulled 
from bins and, with a click of the overwrite button, edited together 
instantaneously. At this point, the Avid system begins to mirror film editing 
by offering splice-in capabilities at any time during the program. Avid also 
borrowed trimming capabilities from the film model. The trim mode is 
reached by clicking the "go to transition" button in the record monitor. The 
length of a clip is automatically adjusted per the editor's specifications. 

The Avid system is able to produce EDLs. broadcast quality masters, or 
rough cuts. Its auto-assembly features preview sequences while the Avid/ 
1 loads up the EDL for that sequence on display. With the addition of a time 
coded tape, the system applied the EDL, cuing the editor to change the reels. 
Its $40,000 to $80,000 price tag is out of the range of the majority of 
independents, but once the system is popularized, expect to see those prices 
go down. 



APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 






Top and middle: Selecting the in-point and out-point of an edit on 
the Avid system. 

Bottom: The edited sequence as it appears on the Mac screen. 

Courtesy Avid Technologies 



EditWorx from Specialized Computer Systems, Santa Rosa, was built on 
the principle that providing a database should be the first benefit of a good 
editing system. With earlier computer-based editing systems, it wasn't 
uncommon to find a database graphed onto the editing system almost as an 
afterthought. Julian Systems, which originally developed EditWorx before 
being purchased by SCS, constructed the database first and then built the 
system around it. This database can handle all the information necessary to 
construct an EDL and control video postproduction. The company chose the 
Mac platform, because there was no right or wrong way to do an edit on the 
Mac. 

The system has three phases — Catalog, Rough Cut, and Final Cut. 
EditWorx uses a mouse, like the Avid system, and also touts a control panel. 
After the source material is shot, it is logged into the database. Using a 
project management software package like MacWorx, the editor can view 
the source on a video monitor. When a desired scene appears, the editor 
simply clicks a mouse to capture the frame and store it. Each frame is 
assigned a time code. At the end of a sequence of frames, a second click of 
the mouse will log the time and frame of the outpoint. 

Because all the. necessary production information is logged into the 
database, the editor can search through the catalogue at any time and extract 
the data needed. The names used in the catalogue and edit list aren't always 
the same, so EditWorx developers provide a pop-up menu that shows an 
editor the standardized code for various kinds of shots. That way if a second 
editor comes in to continue editing where the first left off. the different shots 
are labelled in a uniform fashion. 

SCS stresses that the system is not intended to be keyboard-oriented, but 
rather relies on the mouse and icons to lead an editor through the process. 
Once the source material is catalogued and organized, the data can be 
manipulated as part of the system's second phase — Rough Cut, which is the 
first pass at piecing video sequences together. During this phase, icons 
representing different functions appear on the screen as a visual aid to 
commanding the edit. In the middle of the screen, empty frames are lined up 
to receive shots captured and logged during the first editing mode. By 
clicking from one icon to another, the chosen frames are placed in these 
windows in the desired sequence. An insert button stores the sequences as 
they are chosen. The tape is virtually laid out by this point, although the 
system allows editors to make further modifications. The plotted tape is then 
sent into the Final Cut mode. When the transfer button is pushed, the system 
automatically converts this edit into a CMX-compatible decision list, which 
can be used to make a broadcast-quality master. 

Although there is really no wrong way to edit with this system, the 
company says, if an editor makes a major mechanical mistake, a window 
function sounds a warning. SCS says EditWorx is built around intelligent, 
intuitive software that enables the system to "think and remember." The 
software adjusts the edit for physical changes in the videotape — such as the 
stretching that occurs when the tape is run repeatedly through the decks. 
"Our software remembers from edit to edit what it has to do to get the right 
frame and be accurate," says an SCS executive. 

Although the system currently only takes a single tape machine, the 
company is planning to offer a version that handles multiple machines some 
time this year. The EditWorx sells for $10,000 with the A-B Roll version 
expected to cost $15,000. The company plans to offer an upgrade from the 
original system to the A-B Roll system for $5,000. For $ 1 2,000 the company 
has been offering a Worx Rack, which includes a Mac IIx configuration 
fully loaded with 8 Mbytes of RAM and a 300 Mbyte hard disk, plus a 
keyboard, mouse, and monitor. 

The higher priced EMc : from Edit Machines Corp. lists for around $35,000 
but is considered "perfect" for the independent by filmmaker Steve Mi- 
chaelson, a Bay Area producer. A proprietary compression program allows 
time-coded sources to be stored digitally on hard drives. Earlier drives, of 
388 Mbytes each, could handle up to one hour of source. (Proprietary refers 
to a manufacturer's patented method for accomplishing a task, such as com- 
munication between different computers or systems. The specifications of 
how that task is done are not shared with other vendors, so they cannot be 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



easily replicated in other vendors' machines.) The EMc2 system now uses 
a Sony 600 Mbyte Magneto Optical disk. The EMc2 features a board 
customized with multiple processors on its central processing unit (CPU), 
which enables the system to run a number of operations simultaneously. A 
keyboard, trackball, speaker console, and two monitors are provided as part 
of the package. Once the source material is loaded, the editor uses the 
trackball and keyboard to pick and choose scenes and manipulate them. 

As with Avid and the EditWorx, the EMc2 provides a flexible means of 
labelling shots and subsequently searching for them among the system data. 
And once again, it's easy to modify the scenes chosen before a final EDL 
is constructed. When the EDL is complete and has been placed on a floppy 
disk, the project is time-coded. A rough cut is then easily produced, before 
the final cut is assembled. There are a few obvious drawbacks to the 
system — limited audio potential, reliance on a single disk, and apparent user 
dissatisfaction with the trackball, if industry reports are correct. 

MacTelevision 

In Cupertino, California, Apple-TV, which serves as a showcase for Apple 
products in the media and entertainment industries, is using the Mac as a 
front-end processor in a broadcast studio. A front-end processor is a device 
that acts as a communications assistant with a system. It handles all com- 
munications with terminals and other devices attached to the system, while 
the internal computer is left to concentrate on calculations. At Apple-TV the 
front-end processor Macintosh controls other equipment there, including 
the decks. The goal at Apple-TV is to put a Mac in every room, on every 
desk. Those Macs are networked together by what are called 10 Mbyte 
Ethernet local area networks, so information and resources can be easily 
shared. 

"The Mac is a gateway to all other machines," says studio executive 
Steve Swan. "The tape is loaded into the Mac," and the rest of the process 
is a breeze. Once in the studio, which uses the Avid system, an editor can 
view a rough edit based on the EDL and approve it with no assembly re- 
quired. A server on the network talks to a "router," telling it to receive a 
certain shot, on a certain frame, from a particular monitor. At the Apple-TV 
facilities, HyperCard — a database program designed for the Mac — is being 
used to control the console. HyperCard users can build databases that 
incorporate the Mac's graphical interface. Within the program, a file of 
records is referred to as a card stack. The easiest way to understand the 
function of HyperCard is to think of each record as a Rolodex card. That 
record can be tailored with graphic images and icons, which perform 
database operations when clicked by a mouse. 

The Apple-TV system can also be used to change the entire editing suite 
to a particular editor's specifications. "A studio can write your name next 
to macro command and push a button to reconfigure the room to your 
specifications," says Swan. "With a salvo of commands you can change the 
room and the way it's set up." Swan has also found that an editor "doesn't 
have to be a technical genuis" to use the Mac. 

Apple-TV served as a test site for the Avid system and found the editing 
to be remarkably easy. "What I could do with the mouse after an hour or two 
in a session [showed time and cost] savings immediately," says Swan. Avid 
is having similar impact as VisiCalc, an accounting software program, did 
in business, he explains. "In editing you can cut a show 20 different ways. 
In the same amount of time it took to do a single edit, you can do four or five," 
says Swan. "It gives you power to mix and match, freeing up our time (to 
be more creative)," he adds. 

Apple-TV is also seeing savings in terms of wear and tear on the VTRs 
used in the editing process. "Editing usually eats up 80 to 90 percent of 
useful life; now you just take rough cuts to the hard disk and suddenly you're 
not using VTRs more than twice — once to load and once to do the final edit," 
says Swan. "It's cheaper, and that's the bottom line," he explains. The Mac- 
based system "gives you more time to be creative with cheaper production 
and a higher level of quality." 

Most editors who have previewed the systems or are currently working 
on these or similar offerings still find their nonlinear editing method to be 



Editing Machines EMC Digital Editor 





a 


Play master 


a 


Playjiource 


n^ 


New edit 


tr 


Change edit 


D 


Save/load 


a 


Edit EDL 


B_ 


System 


i 





00 00:03 15 



Main menu 



R/AV/C 




00:00:03.00 00:28:22:12 00:28:25:12 00:00 06:00 



Editing Machines EMC- Digital Editor 



FRAME 


LOG MESSAGE 


00 


24:38:00 


paddle wheel 


00 


24:40:18 


cruise vessel 


00 


24:56:03 


kids 


00 


25:57:15 


nictht watch 


00 


26:23:00 


wives, girlfriends 


00 


28:22:12 


steak 


00 


28:37:12 


basic training 


00 


28:51:24 


potomac meets Chesapeake 


00 


29:58:21 


ttorary 


00 


30:38:09 


school 



R/AV/C 




00 00 03 00 



00 28 22 12 



00 28 25 12 



00 00 06 00 



Use arrows to view EDL Irst 



CUT TRACK HEAD 



TAIL 



EDIT-N 



EDIT- OUT 



00:07:07 12 00:07:09:09 00:00:00:00 00:00:01:27 

00:01:36:03 00:01:39:03 00:00:01:27 00:00:04:27 

00:01:39:12 00:01:42:12 00:00.04:27 00:00:07:27 

00:28:22:12 00:28:25:12 00:00:07:27 00:00:10:27 

00:26:23:00 00:26:26:00 00:00:10:27 00:00:13:27 

00:29:58:21 00:30:01:21 00:00:13:27 00:00:16:27 



steak 



4#t» 



00 00:0727 00:28:22:12 00:28:25:12 00:00:10:27 



Top: The main menu for EMc2's digital editing system. The editor 
views a shot on the upper inset screen and places it into the 
editing sequence below. 

Middle: Like the other desktop video systems, EMc2 has a flexible 
means of descriptively labelling shots, making it easier to search 
for and retrieve material. 

Bottom: By highlighting Cut 4 on the automated edit decision list 
(EDL), the EMc2 user can view the corresponding digitized video 
images below. 

Courtesy Edit Machines Corporation 



APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 




Apple-TV's chief engineer, Lorry Frame, 
operates the Mac that serves as the front-end 
processor for the decks in the background. The 
Apple-TV facility acts as a showcase and lab 
for the development of Apple's video products. 

Photo Thomas Ploch, courtesy Videogrophy 



the biggest draw . "It is much more attractive to filmmakers [ than in the past]. 
That's what they've come from," says Kopol. The newer systems may also 
be integral in luring technology-shy videomakers. Some find editing — the 
time-consuming process and the math involved — to be intimidating and 
often times relinquish editing duties to others or drop out of film and video 
altogether. "The Avid has a great human interface. It's fantastic and 
intuitive." says Kopol. "In three-and-a-half hours, I felt like I didn't know 
everything about the system, but I could do an edit." Because the systems 
are user-friendly, even inviting, it is easier to train video and film students 
on systems like the Avid or EditWorx. A representative of one of the 
systems predicts that professors will be able to train students and move them 
more quickly into actual projects as PC-based editing is adopted by more 
universities. Additionally, they won't have to weed out talent based on a 
student's ability to master hardware, a process that will depend more on 
creative proclivity. 

Nothing's Perfect 

Despite the promise of the new breed of PC-based editing systems, some 
critical problems still exist. Most editors and vendors agree that graphics are 
currently not quite where they should be. Current resolution is lower than 
broadcast quality, but vendors are quick to point out that video compression 
is poised to take a giant leap forward in the next five years. IBM's 
multimedia director Peter Blakeney says compression rates will improve 
six or seven fold in the next few years as I2-MIP (million instructions per 
second) processors give way to 100-MIP machines. IBM is currently 
involved in a joint venture with chip maker Intel Corporation and compres- 
sion master DVI Corporation to improve those rates. And, as the video 
compression rates get better, so will the quality of the images. 

Storage media are also currently insufficient. Most of the newer systems 
use hard disk, laser disk, or magnetic tpae — each with its own limitations. 
For the most part, laser disks and hard disks lack the capacity to hold more 
than two or three hours of source material, since images use up a great deal 
of system memory. 

The laser disks are also too expensive for the average independent. 
Holding 30 minutes of source and costing from $300 to S600 each, the cost 
of laser disks is prohibitive. "You need four lasers for every project you do. 
It costs $600 just to get your material in a shape that you can start with," says 
Kopol. 

Hard disks, which also have space limitations, create a problem for the 
editor who is working on many projects at once. They come in a variety of 
sizes and can hold varying amounts of information. Within the new off-line 



editing systems, those disks are generally about 
340 Mbytes, which translates to about 30 minutes 
worth of source material. An entire system usu- 
ally handles two or three hours of source material 
at a time. It is extremely time-consuming tochange 
projects, a feat that requires about three hours to 
remove the source from the hard disk and reload 
the new source. "Once you load the hard disks 
with the pictures, you're stuck working with that," 
says Kopol. "You can't switch back and forth 
between projects. Tape-based systems allow you to pop in and out." Rob 
Oudendyke of Electric Film concurs: "You can't easily remove the hard 
disk." Once that problem is solved, the off-line systems will become more 
popular. And once the prices come down, "they '11 be great, especially for the 
independent," Oudendyke says. Although more cost-effective at about $20 
per unit, magnetic tape is more fragile and bulkier than other storage media. 
Bujold says he prefers Avid's hard disk approach over EMc2's laser disk 
storage and notes that both have advantage over film. "If you shoot film, it's 
put in cans and on reels," he says. "Sometimes it takes a room or two rooms 
to hold it all." With the newer video systems, "you don't have the clutter, you 
don't lose time searching for trims," he says. Still those systems must 
overcome their storage limitations before they become wildly popular with 
editors. 

But, once again, the promise from the computer industry is that storage 
media, particularly laser disk technology, is on the cusp of a breakthrough. 
Increased video compression, advances in blue lasers and a host of other 
changes should increase the amount of video that can be stored on a laser 
disk. 

The systems themselves remain well beyond the price range of many 
independent producers. For that reason, plus some technological snags, on- 
line editor Rick Feist says, "Nonlinear is not finding applications right 
now," and he doesn't see the nonlinear Mac revolution occurring for some 
time. 

The newer PC-based editing systems must hurdle another obstacle that 
plagues all emerging technology — that is the development of standards. 
Currently, most of the systems are proprietary and don't necessarily "talk" 
to one another. Bujold warns that before an independent buys such a system, 
the standards issue should be resolved to avoid losing a substantial invest- 
ment. "I wouldn't buy a system now," he says. "Some companies are going 
to go away." 

And then there are the philosophical obstacles. Canadian documentary 
maker Bujold says he will be sad to see the traditional methods of film 
editing fade away. He fears that generations to come will lose their 
connection with the past and that some of the techniques that once graced 
the art form will be forgotten. "You can't hold video, touch it, feel it, like 
you can film," he says. "I'll miss that when it's gone." But even after citing 
reservations, Bujold admits that he doesn't want to forego the benefits that 
the new wave of editing brings. 

Teri Robinson is an editor a! MIS Week, a computer trade weekly published 
in New York Citx. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



WIN VALUABLE SONY PRIZES 




The world's first Home 
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original video production. 

Entries must be 
produced in Beta, VHS, or 
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CATEGORIES 



FICTION 
NON-FICTION 
EXPERIMENTAL 
MUSIC VIDEO 

For information & entry forms: 

Video Contest 

Box 200 

Hollywood, CA 90078 

(213)856-7743 

All entrants will receive a cassette 
tape in VHS, Beta or 8mm Video 
FREE just for entering. 




HOME 

VIDEO 

CONTEST 



JUDGES 



JONATHAN DEMME Director 
SOMETHING WILD, STOP MAKING SENSE 

TIM ROBBINS Actor 
MISS FIRECRAKER, BULL DURHAM 

AMY JONES Director/Screenwriter 
MYSTIC PIZZA, MAID TO ORDER 

WILLEM DAFOE Actor 
BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY, PLATOON, 

JEFFREY RESSNER Senior Writer 
Rolling Stone 

LEV AR BURTON Actor 
"Roots", "Star Trek: The Next Generation" 

JERRY KRAMER Director/Producer 

THE MAKING OF MICHAEL JACKSON'S THRILLER, 

"The Merchants of Venice" 

KAREN MURPHY Producer 
DRUGSTORE COWBOY, TRUE STORIES 



DEADLINE: JUNE 15, 1990 



Sponsored by SONY Corporation of American • Administered by The American Film Institute 




RENEE TAJIMA 



The Boogie Spirit rises on the face of a full moon. 
That is the beginning of the contemporary African 
American folktale Zajota and the Boogie Spirit. 
an animated journey of the Zajota people as they 
confront unusual challenges with the mysterious 
power of their dance. In it, video- and filmmaker 
Ayoka Chenzira introduces a mix of film, video, 
and computer graphics. "Dance of life," says 
Chenzira. who produced, directed, wrote, photo- 
graphed, and edited the work, "is the way the body 
responds to its environment as well as what is 
taking place internally. Dance has been used to 
announce birth, prepare for war, ask for forgive- 
ness, assist in healing, satirize events, and in the 
case of Zajota and the Boogie Spirit, dance is used 
both as a survival tool and to predict the future." 
Chenzira collaborated with movement notation 
artist Richard Barclift. Ghanaian animator Isaac J. 
Laing. artist Richard Admiral, voice artist Carol 
Jean Lewis, and Martiniquan composer Mino 
Cinelu to produce the 20-minute piece. Zajota 
and the Boogie Spirit: Crossgrain Pictures, 265 
Bainbridge St.. Brooklyn. NY 1 1233; (718) 773- 
7166. 

Investigative filmmaker Ilan Ziv has recorded 
social and political turmoil in the Third World for 
over a decade. Now in the 53-minute video People 
Power he examines and evaluates nonviolent 
alternatives for political change around the world. 
From the opening shots of murdered corpses in the 
Peru highlands to the closing image of a lone man 
standing before the approaching tanks in Tian- 
anmen Square, People Pone/explores this emerg- 
ing popular option. With commentary by Gene 
Sharp, director of the Albert Einstein Institution, 
Ziv looks at the mechanisms of nonviolent struggle 
in places like Chile, where nonviolent pressure 
before and after last year's plebescite led to dicta- 
tor Pinochet's ultimate call for free elections; the 
West Bank, where Arabs are organizing nonvi- 
olently within the intifada (uprising) and Jewish 
Israelis agitate against the Israeli occupation; and 
in the Philippines, where the nonviolent Edsa 
revolution over the oppressive Marcos regime 
demonstrated the limitations and remaining chal- 
lenges for nonviolent strategies in the future. Ziv 
produced the tape in association with Channel 4 in 
the UK. It earned the Maeda Prize at the Japan 
Prize Contest last year. People Power: Icarus 




In The Lost Army, 
filmmakers Susan Todd 
and Ned Johnson 
accompany a National 
Geographic expedition as 
they search for traces of a 
50,000-man Persian Army 
that vanished in a 
sandstorm 2,500 years 
ago. 

Photo Ned Johnson 



Films, 123 W. 93rd St.. #5B. New York, NY 
10025; (212) 864-7603; fax: (212) 666-2686. 

Hawaiian-born, Rhode Island-based filmmaker 
Jon Moritsugu has completed his first feature 
film. My Degeneration, which premiered at last 
year's Asian American International Film Festi- 
val and has screened at such European venues as 
the No Budget Film Festival in Lund, Sweden, 
and the Oberhausen International Film Festival in 
West Germany. Moritsugu produced the 70-min- 
ute chronicle of the escapades of an all-girl band 
called Bunny Love with a production budget of 
little more than S5.000. The group gets its big 
break when it is named spokesband for the Amer- 
ican Beef Institute. Aptly renamed Fetish, the 
groupette sings of "meat power" and band leader 
Amanda (Loryn Sotsky) falls in love with a pig's 
head. My Degeneration also comes with an offi- 
cial movie soundtrack flexi-disc, which Morit- 
sugu has distributed at film screenings around the 
country. My Degeneration: Jon Moritsugu, 30 
Highland St, #5, Pawtucket, RI 02860; (40 1 ) 723- 
4952. 

Susan Todd and Ned Johnston have completed 
The Lost Army, a one-hour documentary that 
follows a National Geographic expedition to 
Egypt's Western Desert. The leader of the expedi- 
tion is Gary Chafetz, an ambitious 36-year-old 
novelist who has no formal archeological train- 
ing. His goal: to find traces of a 50,000-man 
Persian Army that supposedly vanished in a co- 
lossal sandstorm in 535 BC. Filmmakers Todd 
and Johnston accompanied the expedition for five 
months, and theirpoint-of-view commentary forms 
the film's narrative thread. They start out with 
grand hopes of discovering the army, which 
Chafetz compares to the discovery of King Tut's 



tomb, but as the days of wandering through the 
desert fade into months, the expedition gradually 
loses its momentum. Things go wrong, and the 
expedition turns into a bizarre, comic odyssey. 
The Lost Army was produced with support from 
the Harvard University Film Study Center and 
National Geographic. The Lost Army: Susan Todd, 
125 W. 76th St., #6B, New York, NY 10023; 
(212)362-9714. 

Shot in Las Vegas, Nevada, Queen of Dia- 
monds is filmmaker Nina Menkes' kaleidescopic 
exploration of the life of a young woman black- 
jack dealer. Produced with funds from the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts and a Western 
States Regional Media Arts Fellowship, Queen of 
Diamonds features the director's sister, Tinka 
Menkes, in the leading role. The filmmaker re- 
ceived considerable donations, including hotel 
accomodations, food, a 35mm camera package, 
grip, lighting, and sound equipment, and even 
three elephants obtained for the price of one. 
Menkes describes the film and its casino/desert 
setting as "an evocation of a prototypical America 
hell. ..yet there is a strange flowering within that 
hellish environment." Queen of Diamonds is 
currently in postproduction, with editing facilities 
provided by Pathe Services, formerly Cannon 
Films, in Los Angeles. Queen of Diamonds: Kelley 
Miller or Nina Menkes; (213) 271-3647 or 658- 
3104. 

Inspired by the work of the Center for Victims 
of Torture in Minneapolis, one of three such 
centers around the world, independent producer 
Robert Byrd has created a new one-hour video 
entitled Torture: The Shadow of a Beast. It 
explores the social and political environment that 
fosters torture and documents this inhumanity as 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



being more than an historical fact limited to the 
Inquisition or the Holocaust; it is instead a tool 
still used by governments all over the world today. 
The tape represents an assembly of new and 
archival footage intercut with interviews of tor- 
ture victims and activists. Remarkably, Torture 
was produced with cash outlays of only $400, as 
all costs were donated in-kind, including carte 
blanche access to news footage from Ted Turner' s 
Cable News Network and production facilities at 
Continental Cablevision in St. Paul. Torture pre- 
miered nationally last year on the Discovery 
Channel. Torture: The Shadow of a Beast: Inter- 
media Arts, 425 Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, 
MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 

Butoh is a vanguard Japanese dance form that 
shatters conventions of traditional Japanese dance. 
Videomaker Edin Velez explores this relatively 
new form in his tape Dance of Darkness. Butoh, 
which means stomping dance in Chinese, began 
during the early 1960s. Its dancers strive to show 
the relationship between the physical world and 
their conscious and unconscious minds. They do 
not pursue an aesthetic ideal of form, but seek to 
reveal their souls, whether tormented or joyful, 
through movement. With its foundation in indi- 
vidual expression, Butoh is an artistic forum for 
anti-establishment sentiment. In Dance of Dark- 
ness, Velez presents the lives, rehearsals, and 
performances of Japan's seven leading Butoh 
performers and troupes, including Butoh's cocrea- 
tors Tatsuo Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. They 
demonstrate the genre's opera-like scale, from 
stark solo set pieces to bizarrely costumed en- 
semble performances, from improvisation in 
white-face and G-strings to elaborate choreogra- 
phy for large companies. Dance of Darkness: 
International Center of Photography, 1 130 Fifth 
Ave., New York, NY 10028; (212) 860-1783. 



ATTENTION 

AIVF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column is a 
reg ular feature in The Independent, designed 
to give AIVF members an opportunity to 
keep the organization and others interested 
in independent media informed about cur- 
rent work. We profile works-in-progress as 
well as recent releases. These are not critical 
reviews, but informational descriptions. 
AIVF members are invited to submit de- 
tailed information about their latest film or 
videotape for inclusion in In and Out of 
Production. Send descriptions and black 
and white photographs to: The Independents 
625 Broadway, 9th floor., New York, NY 
10012; attn: In and Out of Production. 



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APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Domestic 

DORESCHAR1 AWARDS October. NY. Student films 
& \ ideos on human relations themes, completed in 
graduate or undergrad yean ai collegeAinh b) film & 
IV majors, are eligible tor awards of $1,000 1 1st prize) 

■ i 2nd pri/e> in both film & video cats Entries 
must incl. supporting letter from faculty sponsor. Cats: 
I ) narrative. animation. live-action; 2) doc, experimental. 
Entries should focus on prejudice/discrimination, ethnic 
issues, interreligious understanding, cultural pluralism. 
Awards now in 7th >r Format: 16mm. 3/4". Awards 
given in LA in Oct. 1st place winners flown to CA. 
expenses paid Deadline June 1 5. Contact: Zirel Handler. 
Dore Scharv Awards. Anti-Defamation League. 823 
United Nations Plaza. New York. NY 10017; (212)490- 
2525 

JEWISH HIM FESTIVAL: INDEPENDENT FILM- 
MAKJERSLOOKING Udl RSELVES, July, CA. Jewish 

themes depicted in ind. films are backbone of test, now 
in 10th vr. which has mandate of creating forum for 
films which express "diversity & celebrate the many 
ways there are of being Jewish." Dramatic, doc, 
experimental, animated shorts & features accepted. 
About 25 films from 1 2 countries shown ea. yr at venues 
in Berkeley & San Francisco. Program also incl. free 
seminars & several free matinees. No entry fee. Format: 
35mm. 16mm: preview on cassette. Deadline: Apr. 15. 
Contact: Deborah Kaufman/Janis Plotkin. Jewish Film 
Festival. 2600 Tenth St., #102, Berkeley, CA 94710: 
(415) 548-0556; fax: (415) 548-0536. 

MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL. Sept. 24-27. 
NY. Dubbed "the combined Cannes. Venice & Berlin of 
the ethno-documentary" by Voice critic J. Hoberman, 
this is a premiere int'l showcase for nonfiction films on 
anthropological, sociological & cultural topics. Work 
from Africa, Asia, So. America, So. Pacific & US is 
screened. Topics range from personal to community 
portraits, rural to urban life. 48 films shown last yr; 38 
were NY premieres. All lengths accepted. Several 
filmmakers attend & discussions w/ audience follow 
screenings. Fest now in 14th yr. Work must be in doc 
format (no docudramas). No entry fee. Format: 35mm. 
16mm: preview on cassette. Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: 
Malcolm Arth/Elaine Charnov/Nathaniel Johnson. 
Margaret Mead Film Festival. American Museum of 
Natural History, Central Pk. West at 79th St., New York, 
NY 10024-5192: (212)769-5305/769-5172; fax: (212) 
769-5233. 

MOUNTAINFILM FESTIVAL OF MOUNTAIN FILMS, 

May 25-28, CO. Annual competitive "celebration of 
mountain-inspired film art" held during Memorial Day 
weekend & now in 12th yr. Over 20 programs from 
several countries shown, along w/ tribute to guest of 
honor. Cats: best mountain spirit film, best mountain- 
eering film, best technical climbing film, best mountain 
sports film, special jury award & grand prize (best of 
fest). Fest also accepts work-in-progress, slide & other 
multimedia programs, and video. Film must have been 
made in last decade. Fest will provide accommodations 
& some meals for participating filmmakers. No entry 
fee. Format: 35mm. 16mm (both preferred), 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta ( large screen projection avail. ). Deadline: Apr. 30. 
Contact: Jim Bedford, general manager. Mountainfilm. 
Box 1088, Telluride, CO 81435; (303) 728-4123; fax: 
(303) 728-6933. 

NEW FESTIVAL, May 31 -June 17. NY. New & retro 
features, docs & videos are part of New York Int'l 




This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to inde- 
pendents, we encourage all film and video 
makers to contact the FIVF Festival Bureau 
with their personal festival experiences, 
both positive and negative. 

Festival of Lesbian & Gay Film, held at Biograph 
Cinema. Over 70 titles shown last yr, in conjunction w/ 
special programs on selected gay film artists. Volunteers 
welcome. Call, write, or fax for catalog. For info, contact: 
Arthur Luiz, assoc. dir.. New Festival, 568 Broadway, 
Suite 1104,New York, NY 10012; (212)966-5656: fax: 
(212)941-8614. 

PRODUCER'S MARKETPLACE, NATIONAL EDUCA- 
TIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL. May 24-26. 
CA. Held during one of country's largest educational 
media fests, this market showcases new ind. docs & 
educational films & videos. Attendees incl. variety of 
distributors who specialize in marketing to domestic & 
foreign educational institutions, TV & home video. 
Professional & student works (incl. work-in-progress) 
for which producer owns some or all distribution rights 
eligible. Entry format: 1/2". Entry fee: $15 (productions 
already entered in fest): $50 (noncompetition entries). 
Deadline (postmark): Apr. 20. Contact: Kate Spohr, 
National Educational Film & Video Festival, 314 East 
1 0th St.. Rm. 205 , Oakland. C A 94606; (415) 465-6885/ 
6878/6891. 

ROBERT FLAHERTY FILM SEMINAR. June 9- 1 6, NY. 
For 36th consecutive yr. this challenging & provocative 
forum on ind. film will take place at Wells College in 
Aurora. NY. It will be held earlier than usual so a second 
Flaherty Seminar can be held in USSR on Baltic Coast 
near Riga. Latvia, in September. Seminar participants in 
NY will "look at the particular ways personal docs can 
challenge conventional approaches & expand the 
boundaries of the genre." Nonfiction films & videos 
employing techniques associated w/ dramatic features 
will be examined, w/ emphasis on contemporary cinema 
verite. uses of found footage & archival film in nonfiction 
work, and humor as tool in reshaping & making doc 
more accessible to wide audience. Selected films, 
programmed by Richard Peterson of USA Film Fest & 
Bo Smith of Boston Museum of Fine Arts, will reflect 
diversity of cultural perspectives & subject matter. 
Deadline for registration: May 9 (late appls. accepted 
based on space availability). For info, on appl. for 
screenings, write (before Apr. 16) to: Sally Berger, exec, 
director. International Film Seminars. 305 W. 21st St., 



NewYork.NY 1001 1: (212)727-7262, fax: (212)691- 
9565. 

\ ISIONS OF US, August, CA. Sponsored by Sony & 
administered by AFI, competition awards original video 
productions which express a vision of the world. Cats: 
fiction, nonfiction, experimental, music video. Prizes: 
Grand Prize (CCD-V220 8mm Pro video camera/ 
recorder w/ digital stereo); 1st, 2nd & 3rd equipment 
prizes in all cats; 5 runner-up awards; Young Peoples 
(under 17 yrs) Merit Award. Entries must be under 30 
min.; originality most important factor. Judges incl. film 
producers, TV personalities, music video stars, recording 
artists. Format: 1/2". 8mm video. Beta. Deadline: June 
15. Contact: Kimberly Wright, Visions of US, Box 200, 
Hollywood, CA 90078; (213) 856-7787. 

WINE COUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL, July 13-22, CA. 
Int'l fest, now in 4th yr, programs about 50 films, 
showcasing new works, particularly ind. features, shorts 
& works by new filmmakers. World premieres, classics 
& avant-garde works among offerings. Special sections 
incl. "films from commitment" & "arts in film." 
Expanded format this yr will see 10 days of seminars on 
screenwriting, directing, acting. Special receptions & 
wine tastings of region's specialties. Accepts features, 
docs, animation, shorts, music videos & student shorts 
& features. Each yr fest also honors "film company of 
the year." Entry fee: $15. Format: 35mm. 16mm: preview 
on cassette. Deadline: May 1 . Contact: Stephen Ashton. 
dir.. Wine Country Film Festival, 12000 Henno Rd.. 
Box 303. Glen Ellen. CA 95442; (707) 996-2536, (818) 
503-4786; fax: (707) 996-6964. 



Foreign 



EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

August, Scotland. Now in 44th yr, fest programs 
panorama of nearly 200 int'l features, shorts, animation, 
docs & student films. City's main arts fest frames event. 
New award inaugurated last yr: Charles Chaplin Award 
to best 1st or 2nd time director. Sections: Panorama 
(best of previous yr's world cinema). Retrospective, 
Young Filmmaker of the Year. Animation, Eyes of the 
World (contemporary doc). Late Night Sensations (new 
exploitation films). Work must have been completed 
after Aug. 1988. Entry fee: £25. Format: 35mm, 16mm; 
preview on 3/4", 1/2" (PAL only). Deadline: May 21. 
Contact: David Robinson. Edinburgh International Film 
Festival, Filmhouse. 88 Lothian Rd.. Edinburgh EH3 
9BZ, Scotland; tel: 03 1 228-405 1 ; fax: 229-5501 ; telex: 
72166. 

LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

Aug. 2- 1 2, Switzerland. FIVF will again bost director 
David Streiff this yr in his selection of US ind. 
features for fest, now celebrating 43rd yr as one of 
Switzerland's largest cultural events. Known on 
int'l fest circuit as '*the smallest of the big festivals 
& the biggest of the small," well -regarded fest for 
feature films has reputation for excellence in 
programming & several unique characteristics, such 
as open air screenings in Locarno's Piazza Grande, 
which seats 6000 & has held crowds of 8000. Last yr 
over 100.000 attended screenings in different 
cinemas; large local audience is complemented by 
several hundred journalists & 1800 int'l guests. 
Sidebars incl. retros (this yr on Russian filmmaker 
Lev Kouleshov), special programs & out-of- 
competition screenings. Over 1 50 films programmed. 
Fest also features small market, growing in recent 
yrs. which attracts most Swiss distributors & 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



exhibitors. Locarno is located on Lake Maggiore, 
surrounded by mountains. Competition accepts 1st 
& 2nd fiction features by new directors; art films, 
low-budget films, work from 3rd World countries, 
indies & cinema d'auteur especially sought. Films 
must be over 60 min., Swiss premieres (many are 
world premieres), completed in previous 1 2 mos. & 
not recognized w/ prize at other FIAPF-approved 
in t ' 1 fests. Educational, advertising & scientific films 
not eligible. Prizes incl. Golden Leopard (Grand 
Prix) together w/City of LocamoGrand Prize ( 1 5 ,000 
SF); Silver Leopard (Grand Prix of Jury) together w/ 
2nd Prize of City of Locarno (10.000 SF>; Bronze 
Leopard together w/ 3rd Prize of City of Locarno 
(5,000 SF); honorable mention & technical prizes. 
Accepted films should be French-subtitled. Fest 
provides 5-day hospitality to reps of films selected 
for competition. Streiff will be in NY at end of Apr. - 
beg . May to prescreen entries on cassettes (3/4" & 1 / 
2"). Festival format: 35mm & 1 6mm. Handling fee: 
$20 (payable to FTVF). For info. & entry forms, send 
S ASE orcall Kathryn Bowser, FTVF Festival Bureau, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012; 
(212) 473-3400. Deadline: Apr. 20. In Switzerland: 
May 3 1 deadline. Contact: David Streiff, director, 
Locarno International Film Festival, Via dellaPosta 
6, CH-6600 Locarno, Switzerland; tel: (093) 31 02 
32; fax: (093) 31 74 65; telex: 846565 FIFL. 



MUNICH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 
23-July 1, W. Germany. Audiences of over 100,000 
attend fast-growing, noncompetitive fest which since 
start in 1983 has been very hospitable to US ind. films. 



Hundreds of films premiered here. Each yr about 120 
films shown; sections incl. int'l section, perspectives 
( 1st & 2nd work of young directors), ind. film section, 
special screenings, children's section, short films & 
docs. Film Exchange, "platform for int'l contacts btwn 
producers, distributors, buyers & sellers," provides film/ 
video projection rooms. Program also incl. symposia, 
lectures & tributes. No entry fee. Format: 35mm, 1 6mm; 
preview on cassette. Contact: EberhardHauff/UllaRapp, 
Internationale Munchner Filmwochen GmbH, Tiirk- 
enstrasse 93, D-8000 Munich 40, W. Germany; tel: (89) 
381904-0; fax: (89) 38190426; telex: 5214674 imf d. 

PESARO INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF NEW 
CINEMA, June 1-9, Italy. Now in 26th yr, fest shows 
about 300 features & shorts which highlight "new or 
experimental cinema," w/ entries from 16 countries. 
Last yr guests incl. 350 journalists & 150 filmmakers & 
film professionals. Format: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: 
Adriano Apra, dir., Pesaro International Festival of New 
Cinema, Via Yser 8, 00 1 98 Rome, Italy ; telex : 6869524; 
fax: 624596. 

VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 3- 
15, Italy. Now in 47th yr, Venice is world's oldest film 
fest, started by Mussolini in 1 932 & developed over yrs 
into one of world's most prestigious fests. Attended by 
large media contingent (2000 press from 55 countries 
representing 445 newspapers & 162 radio/TV stations) 
as well as film professionals & thousands of int'l guests. 
Work shown in & out of competition. This yr's fest will 
scale down usual number of screenings, w/ 35 works in 
competition, 10 in Critics Week section & 10 in TV 
section. Retro will focus on Soviet films. Awards: 



Golden Lion (best film); Grand Special Award, Silver 
Lion (best direction), Volpi Cup (best actor/actress): 
three Oselle (outstanding professional contributions). 
Sections: Venezia XLVII (main competition), non- 
competitive sections Venezia Orizzonti (info, section: 
varied works which illuminate current tendencies & 
aspects of cinema); Venezia Notte (works of "an 
intelligently spectacular nature," entertaining but w/ 
style & content, shown at midnight); Venezia RiSguardi 
(retro of director, current, or theme); Venezia TV (exhi- 
bition of works recently made for TV); Eventi Speciali 
(screenings of "special & unusual appeal"); Settimana 
Internazionale della Critica International Critics' Week 
( 1 st & 2nd works; run as ind. part of fest). Films must be 
subtitled in Italian. Deadline: June 30. Contact: La 
Biennale di Venezia, Mostra Internazionale d'Arte 
Cinematografica, Settore Cinema e Spettacolo 
Televisivo, San Marco, Ca-Giustinian 30124, Venice, 
Italy; tel: 700311/520-0311/526-0228; telex: 410685 
BLE-VE-I. 

WELLINGTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

July 6-21, New Zealand. Noncompetitive invitational 
fest, especially for films that would not have opportunity 
to screen in New Zealand. Many selections have played 
at other fests. Several past editions featured large number 
of US ind. features; shorts also accepted. Last yr 1 3 
features & 1 1 ind. shorts programmed. Held in assoc. w/ 
Auckland Int'l Film Festival. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
Deadline: Apr. 30. Contact: Bill Gosden, New Zealand 
Federation of Film Societies, Box 9544, Courtenay PI.. 
Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 850-162; fax: 801-7304; 
telex: NZ8497 19. 



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at 



BARD 



COLLEGE 
Box IN 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504 
(914) 758-6822 x-483 



FOR 



INDEPENDENT PRODUCE RS 

mmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmmmmmmamm 

Low Cost Off-Line Editing Suite 

You'll love our convenient Union Square location. It's a fully equipped and 
spacious room, designed for your comfort. 

• Equipped with Sony 5850s. 

• Convergence Super 90 plus edit controller (reads audio time code, auto search 
function, fade to black). 

• Turntable, cassette and Teac 4-track audio. 

• Rent with or without an editor. 

• Economical long-term rates available. 

• Key Accessories: Coffee maker & well stocked refrigerator. 

Give us a call and we'll fill you in on all the specifics — and special prices for first- 
time users — ask for Linda. 



(212)727-0050 Fax:(212)727-7577 

18 East 16th Street at Union Square, 
New York, New York 10003 




APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



CLASSIFIEDS 



Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 



K)R s u.K rf\ I : JVC CR 4700U, 3/4" portable deck 
w/ AC adaptor, portabrace case & battery: Sony VO- 
2600 3/4 studio deck; Son) ECM 50 lav microphones 
(pair). Great conditions! Call Claudio at (212) 664- 
8009. 

FOR SALE: Industrial camera/recorder: JVC KY-2000 
color camera, CR-4400U 3/4" portable recorder: $2500 
or BO. Also, editing system: JVC RM-88U controller, 
JVC 6600U & 8200U recorders: $2500 or BO. Doug 
Hart (718)937-7250. 

FOR SALE: Video prod. pkg. JVC KY 2700 3-tube 
camera v./ 2 bats + ac;BVU lOOw/tc module, portabrace 
case. 2bats + ac;2 Audio Tecnicalavaliers; 1 Nakamichi 
shotgun: Shure M67 mixer; Miller fluid head tripod. 
Good condition. $1500 or BO. (718) 965-0268. 

BETACAM PKG FOR SALE: IkegamiHL79EAL camera, 
Sony BVW-25 recorder, color monitor, B/W monitor, 
batteries, chargers, power supply, cables, shipping and 
soft cases. Call (914) 238-8895. 

WANTED: CP. Am, Aaton. Angenieux. Cooke, Zeiss, 
O'Connor, Miller. Sachtler. Steadicam, Nagra. Call for 
current equipment list, lens and camera repair, free lens 
evaluation, new and used equipment needs, rentals. 
Whitehouse A/V (805) 498-4177. 

FOR SALE: Mint Eclair NPR recently overhauled, w/ 
(2) Beeala crystal mtrs. (3) 400' magazines, (2) 9.5- 
95mm Ang. zoom. (1) 10- 150mm Ang. zoom, Anton 
Bauer batt. Complete package w/cases ( 1 -NPR body for 
parts): $7,000. (212) 732-4587. 

WORLD'S BEST 3/4" editing system. Convergence 
super 90 w/ TC reader/gen/plus JVC 8250 5550. Status 
mon. Audio mixer. Complete. Sacrif : $5850. Microtime 
TBC 320 D Freeze frame: $4,250. Moviola M-86: 
$4,500. Cine 60 fiberglass blimp for Arri 35: BO. (203) 
637-0445. 

Freelancers 

FILM SEARCH: We obtain hard-to-find films (pre- 
1970) on tape. We are expensive, but good. 5 searches 
for $5 & SASE. Video Finders, Box 435 l-453ind, L. A., 
CA 90078. 

BETACAM PACKAGE w/ tripod, lights, mics, award- 
winning cameraman, crew & transportation, avail, for 
your project at great rates. Fast & reliable. Broadcast 
quality. Call Eric (718) 389-7104. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ feature (4), doc & commercial 
credits avail, for film or video projects of any length. 
Personable, w/ strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can afford. Call 
for demo: Eric (718) 389-7104. 

BETACAM SP packages available: New BVW-507 (w/ 
700 line resolution): BVW35 & BVW-505 also avail. 
Your choice of field production pkg comes w/ award- 
winning videographer. Toyota 4-Runner & competitive 
rates. Call Hal at (201 ) 662-7526. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER to work on independent films. 
Vincent (718) 729-7481. Reel upon request. Long live 
independence! 

AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

looking for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 
capable full Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 



Each entry in the Classifieds column has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be edited. 
Payment must be made at the time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified must be typed, double-spaced 
& worded exactly as it should appear 
Deadlines for Classifieds are the 8th of 
each month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., April 8 for the June issue. Make 
check or money order — no cash, please — 
payable to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. 



BETACAM OR 3/4" SP location shooting as low as $300/ 
day. Betacam & 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP editing w/ editor 
from $35/hr. Vega wireless mic and Motorola MX-350 
rental as low as $30/day. Call Michael at Electronic 
Visions (212) 691-0375. 

AWARD-WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 
8fps-75fps w/ video looking for challenging projects. 
Partial client list incl: ABC Sports. ESPN. IBM, LIRR. 
Pitney Bowes. Complete crews avail., incl. sound record- 
er & grip truck. Reasonable rates. Mike (7 1 8) 352- 1 287. 

SHOOTING IN WASHINGTON DC? Well meet you w/ 
an experienced, fully credentialed crew or produce from 
your script. Sony bdest 3/4" SP or Betacam SP pkg. 8 
lights. 5 mics. News/doc/interviews in several languages. 
Good rates. Lots of happy clients. Accent Media. (703) 
356-9427. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER with Arri 16SR and lighting 
package: $750 a day. Ten years experience. Major 
awards. Excellent credits, including Smithsonian. 
National Geographic. 20120. Call Len McClure at (301 ) 
299-7893. 

SHOOTING IN ASIA? See ad just above this one for 
cameraman w/ years experience in Asia. Shot more than 
20 films in China. Japan. Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. 
Lots of valuable contacts to help you. Call Len McClure 
at (301) 299-7893. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for new 
documentary or dramatic projects. 1 1 years experience. 
35mm, 16mm. and broadcast video. Richard Chisolm 
(301)467-2997. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/OPERATOR w/ 

feature film (5 (credits. Self-owned 35mm, 16mm. Film 
cameras (w/ videotape). 50 kilowatt lighting/power/ 
grip pkg. sync sound/video recording/playback system. 
Lowest rates in Tri-State! (201 ) 798-8467. 

AATON PKG w/ assistant camera. 3 mags. Cooke 9-50. 
Ang. 1 2- 1 20. Zeiss 8, 2 batts, eye piece X. zoom motor. 



Sachtler Video 20, Hi-hat, barney, filters, crystal 24. 25, 
29.97 fps. I am accurate, fast & experienced w/doc. rock 
video & feature prod. Sam (718) 636-5061. 

sot M)\l \\ «/ audio geai \ good attitude available foi 
film & video prods. Call for resume and rates. Claudio 
(212)664-8009. 

ORIGINAL SCORE for your film or video. Experienced, 
reliable, stylistically flexible. Full SMPTE lockup for 
frame accuracy cueing in video. B.A. in traditional 
composition from Berklee College of Music. 1984. Call 
(718)383-6109. 

FEATURE SCRIPTS WANTED for independent project. 
Interested in character-driven stories set in middle 
America. Send SASE for return. Independent Group/ 
Filmspace. 615 Clay Lane, State College, PA 16801 . 

ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER avail, to film community 
to draft/negotiate/review contracts, handle legal matters, 
assist in financing. Reasonable fees (718) 454-7044. 

CAMERAMAN with own equipment available. Arri 
16SR. 16S packages, zoom control, variable speed, 
doorway dolly. Ski. scuba, etc.. several languages, lots 
of travel experience. Call Frank (212) 673-2666. 

MUSIC THAT FITS: Get a great sounding score that fits 
your film artistically and fits your budget. Feature, indie, 
doc & TV experience. From all synthesized to all acoustic 
music, done with latest 24-track technology. Doug 
Cuomo (212) 285-0922. 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCER for low-budget feature & 
docs. I've worked with Jarmusch producer Jim Stark. 
Jon Jost, and DCTV. Together we can make your project 
happen— cheap. Mary (212) 533-2629,. 

PBS CREDITED cameraman with Sony DXC 3000 
camera & deck. Seinheiser sound, broadcast package. 
$250. Call for weekly rates. John (212) 473-6550. 

ERIC SOLSTEIN PRODUCTIONS offers all services for 
the independent & industrial producer. Professional 
video services, consulting & editing. Window dubs & 
standards conversions. (212) 627-3774. 

HIGH BAND 8 VIDEO SEMINARS: Eric Solstein 
Productions is offering a weekly seminar, featuring in- 
depth discussions & demos of H8 as an aquisition & 
production medium, technical information & field 
production tips. (212) 627-3774. 



Postproduction 



NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, super 16, 35mm. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Chris Choy , Renee Tajima. 
Bruce Weber & Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at 
reasonable rates. One White Glove. Tim Brennan. 321 
W. 44th St.. #411, New York. NY 10036; (212) 265- 
0787. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND Film Services. All S/8 
production, postprod., editing, sync sound, sound mix. 
multi-track, single & double system sound editing, 
transfers, stills, etc. Send SASE for rate sheet or call Bill 
Creston, 727 6th Ave., NY. NY 10010; (2 12) 924-4893. 

BETACAM OR 3/4" SP location shooting as low as $300/ 
day. Betacam & 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP editing w/ editor 
from S35/hr. Vega wireless mic. & Motorola MX-350 
rental as low as $30/day. Call Michael at Electronic 
Visions (212) 691-0375. 

SOUND TRANSFERS: Convenient downtown location. 
FX library, digital sampling, transfers from & to 16/ 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 









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THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 




diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



WlV; 






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^ 



Help Yourself. 



j 



oil) AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

$45/year individual (in US & Puerto Rico) 
I I (Add $12 for first class mailing) 

$25/year student (encl: proof of student ID) 

LJ $60/year library (subscription only) 

I I $85/year organization 

I I $60/year foreign (outside US, Canada & 

Mexico), surface rate 
[~H ( Add # $15 for fomgn^ ^air # rnail) ^ 



^ 



Name 



Address_ 
City 



State 



^P. 



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Telephone 



Please bill my: Visa Mastercard 

Acct. # 



Exp. Date 
Signature 



OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF. 625 Broadway, 
9th floor. New York, NY 10012; or call (212)473-3400. 








lease send me the latest copy 
of your book and tape list. 



Name_ 



Address. 
City 



State. 



Zip- 



Telephone. 



rj 




AIVF 

AIVF Publications 
625 Broadway 
9th Floor 
New York, NY 10012 






«>..v*r», 



■ 



■ 



35mm, 1/4" mono & stereo (w/ SMPTE), cassette. CD, 
DAT & mini Nagra SN. Best rates (212) 255-8698. 

16MM FLATBEDS FOR RENT: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 

(212)873-4470. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

SUPER 8 24 fps transfers: scene-by-scene color correction 
w/ CCD telecine, Sony color corrector w/ hue, phase, 
gamma comp, neg-pos reverse, b&w tinting, letterboxing 
& Dolby stereo. Beautiful results @ 1 l(2/foot to Sony 
Pro-X 1/2" VHS. $35/min + stock. Gerard Yates (203) 
359-8992. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access in secure, convenient building on both East 
& West side of Manhattan. Reasonable rates. (718) 997- 
6715. 

COUNTRY VIDEO BED & BREAKFAST: 3/4" SP off- 
line system. Time Code reading/generating unit. Sur- 
rounded by acres of state forest. Enjoy country living, 
sauna, international hospitality & low rates. Log Country 
Inn, Box 58 1 , Ithaca, NY 1485 1 ; (607) 589-477 1 . 

FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing room (brand new Sony 
5850, 5800, RM440). Very reasonable rates, convenient 
midtown location in suite w/ other filmmakers. Xerox & 
fax available. Call Jane at (2 1 2) 929-4795 or Deborah at 
226-2579. 

MOVIOLA M-77 6-plate flatbed with bin, splicer, and 
extras. Excellent condition. $5,200. (212) 873-4470. 

FOR RENT: VHS off-line editing room (JVC BR-8600 
U, 6400 U & RM-86U, including 2-Panasonic monitors). 
Convenient midtown location in suite w/ other 
filmmakers. Xerox & fax avail. $400/wk. Editor avail, 
fee negotiable. (212) 563-2370. 

UPTOWN EDIT: fully equipped 16mm editing rooms 
with 6-plate and 8-plate Steenbecks. 24-hour access. 
Best rates in town, student discounts. West 86th Street, 
(212)580-2075. 

POST ON THE COAST: Relaxed time-code editing in 
Maine, hassle free, multi-format (3/4" SP & 1/2", incl. 
SEG, freezes, Chyron, camera), software based A/B 
system w/ edit list generation. Cuts only as low as $20/ 
hr. AIVF discount. Editing never had it so good! 
Expanded Video (207) 773-7005. 

S-VHS, 1/2" VHS industrial editing decks for rough cuts 
and dubs. Also. Alta Cygnus TBC with special effects & 
Amiga computer with graphics capability. $15/hr. 
Private, quiet facility in Greenwich Village. Call Bob 
(212)473-7462. 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING: Edit from Betacam, 
3/4" or 3/4" SP. $99/hr including operator, switcher, slo- 
mo. 50% discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, Inc., near Lincoln Center ( 2 1 2)874- 
4524. 

BRAND NEW 3/4" EDITING system for rental on your 
premises or comes with work space. Reasonable rates. 
Avail, from May 1: Sony 9800 & 9850 decks, 2 Sony 
monitors ( I under/over scan ). RM 450 controller, Tascam 
M06 mixer. Elizabeth (212) 533-0340. 




PRE-PRODUCTION * 
NEWSLETTER » 



* 

a 
* 
* 
* 



ooooooooooooooooo 
^ RESEARCHES SAG AND NON-UNION FILMS CURRENTLY IN 
PRE-PRODUCTION IN N-Y. - CALIF.- ALL THE U.S.A. 

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION $39.95 
TOLL FREE CREDIT CARD ORDERS 1 - 800 "22 2 ~3844 
SAMPLE ISSUE $5.00 
10 EAST 39th ST. SUITE 1017 N.Y., N.T. 10016 



* 

* 
* 
* 
* 



Video Duplication 

READY NEXT DAY- Mon-Fri 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 

FROM 3/4", 1/2* VHS MASTER Add $25.00 per ONE INCH Master 

FROM ONE 20 MINUTES 30 MINUTES 60 MINUTES 1 /2" VHS/Beta II 

MASTER 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1/2" 90 MIN. 120 MIN. 



One Copy $4.00 $4.00 $6.00 $5.00 $9.00 $8.00 $11.00 $14.00 

2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 5.50 4.50 8.00 6.00 8.00 9.00 

5-9 Copies 3.00 2.50 4.50 3.50 7.00 5.00 7.00 8.00 

10-19 Copies 2.50 2.00 4.00 3.00 6.00 4.50 6.00 7.00 

1-4 RUSH Dubs. $8.00 $11.00 $17.00 $22.00 $28.00 

TC Burn In $10.00 $14.00 $26.00 Inquire for LABELING 

Window Dubs 5.00 7.00 13.00 & SHRINK WRAP 

PRICES ARE PER COPY- STOCK NOT INCLUDED ASSEMBLY CHARGES ARE ADDITIONAL. 



EQUIPMENT: 3/4" Sony, 1/2" Panasonic 2 ch. industrial recorders and Grass 
Valley & Videotek distributors. Time base correction, optional, with Microtime 
and Tektronix equipment. TITLING & EDITING FACILITIES AVAILABLE 

3/4" & 1/2" EDITING Evenings & 24 Hour Access 
With and Without an Editor Instructions Available 
CHYRON TITLER AVAILABLE 
ONE LIGHT FILM TO TAPE TRANSFERS 
FILM STOCK. VIDEO TAPE. AUDIO TAPE. LEADER & SUPPLIES 

(212)475-7884 

814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



Fundraising 




Creative Film Funding Services 

Documentary & Educational Films 
(212)307-5929 



APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



NOTICES 



Conferences ■ Workshops 

<)\itk K)K NKVs IKLEUSION Spring Video 
Workshops Bask \ ideo Prod., Mod A Wed . Apr. 16- 
Mas 2. I -Camera Portable Prod . Sat . Apr 7 Mas 5; 
BasK Video Engineering, Mon. ft Wed., Apr. 23. 25 & 
30, Preprod. Seminar. Apr 21. 28 & Mas 5; Videotape 
Editing. Pi I. Sat. Apr 2 1 -Ma) 12; Videotape Editing, 
Pt.2.Tues.&Thurs.,Apr. I7-Mas I; Editing Workshop, 
Apr 9 X. 16; Camera Support Equip.. Wed. & Thurv, 
Apr 24. 25 A 26. Desktop Computer Animation. Apr. 
28. Contact: CNTV.912 So. Wabash Ave., Chicago. IL 
60605; (312)427-5446. 

Ml M VIDEO IRTS Courses & Workshops: 16mm Film 
Prod II. Apr. 10-June 26; Am SR Workshop. Apr. 28 & 
29; Independent TV Sen ice. Ma> 14; Myth & the 
Moving Image, Apr. 1 1 -June 6; Prod. Mgmt. II, May 10- 

June 28; Grantssnting. Mas 5 & 12; Video Cameras I. 
Apr.2lft22;VideoCamerasn.Ma) I9& 20;On-Line 
Editing w/Standb) Program. Mas 7; Time Code Basics. 
Apr. 14; Sandin Image Processor. Apr. 12; Digital 
Effects Overview, Mas 26 & 27; Creating Amiga Titles 
tor Video II. May 8 & 15; Intro to Digital Effects. Apr. 
1 6- Mas 2 1 Contact: FA' A. 8 1 7 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MEDIA ARTS CENTERS 

10th Anniversary Conf. The Unblinking Eye: Affecting 
Change in The 90's. May 17-20. Boston, MA. Pre- 
registration: S125/S75 members; on-site: S150/S100 
members. Day rate: S40/S30 members. Subject to 
as ailabilus . Conf. limited to 300 regs. Contact: Bridget 
Mumane. ICA; (617) 266-5152. 

SCRIBE VIDEO CENTER Spring Workshops: Activist 
Video. Apr. 5. 12 & 19; Videotape Editing Workshop. 
Mon.. Apr. 16-Mas 7. Contact: Scribe Video Center. 
1342 Cspress St.. Philadelphia. PA 19107: (215) 735- 
3785. 

YELLOWSTONE MEDIA ARTS 1990 Summer Work- 
shops: June 1 1-July 13. Series of 1 & 2 wk workshops 
w/ lectures, discussions, exercises & screenings, incl. 
Sos iet Cinema & TV. Native Amer. Film/Video. 
Women's Fact/Women's Fiction. Script Writing. 
Directing & Animation. Contact: Paul Monaco. Dept. of 
Media & Theatre Arts. Montana State Univ., Bozeman. 
MT 59717; (406) 994-6224. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY TV CENTER schedules 
monthls ssorks-in-progress evenings where producers 
can meet & screen current projects. Goal is to create 
netssorking environment for grassroots producers. 
Contact: DCTV. 87 Lafayette St.. New York. NY 10013: 
1 2 12 1 966-4510. 

INDEPENDENT IMAGES competition open to ind. 
producers from PA. DE & NJ w/ works completed since 
Jan. I. 1988. Formats: 16mm. 3/4", 1/2". All genres 
welcome. Works to be broadcast on WHYY-TV12. 
Philadelphia. S14/min. for works over 5 min. & $75 flat 
fee for ssorks under 5 min.. plus limited amount of 
postprod. time for video needing fine-cut editing. Appl. 
deadline: Mas 18. Contact: Independent Images. 
WHYY-TV12, 150 North Sixth St.. Philadelphia, PA 
19106. attn: Lisa Marie Russo: (215) 351-1200. 

LINEAR CYCLE PRODUCTIONS seeking home movies/ 
amateurfilmsshotbtwn 1925- 1975 for future syndicated 
TV series. Any subject (no "stag" films, please) shot on 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The Indepen- 
dent reserves the right to edit for length. 
Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of the month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., April 8 for the 
June issue. Send to: Independent Notices, 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 
10012. 



8mm. super 8. 16mm, sound or silent. Amatuer videos 
shot before 1980 also considered. For info, contact: Rich 
Borowy, Linear Cycle Productions. Box 2827, 
Carbondale. IL 62902-2827. 

NEW DAY FILMS: Self-distribution coop for ind. 
producers seeks ness members w/ recent social issue 
docs. Also progressive films for young people. Deadline: 
Apr. 1 . 1 990. Contact: Ralph Arlyck, 79 Raymond Ave., 
Poughkeepsie. NY 12601. 

NEW TON TELEVISION FOLNDATION seeks proposals 

from ind. producers fordoes on issues of public concern. 
Contact: Newton Television Foundation. 1608 Beacon 
St.. Waban. MA 02168: (617) 965-8477. 

PREVIEW SCREENING SERVICE offered by Leo 
Dratfield Endowment for ind. film- & videomakers who 
have completed or almost completed new works & seek 
distribution, finishing funds, or feedback of peers. Send 
info. & brief description. Do not send film or tape until 
requested. Contact: Leo Dratfield Endowment, Preview 
Screening Service. Box 7092, New York. NY 101 16- 
7092. 

SCBMIT FILMS & VIDEOS' for possible screening in 
continuing exhibition of works by Black filmmakers. 
All genres — personal, doc. etc. Formats: 16mm & super 
8. silent/sound. 3/4" & 1/2". Send works to: Toney 
Merritt. Black Experiments in Film, c/o San Francisco 
Cinematheque, 480 Potrero Ave., San Francisco, CA 
941 10. Include personal statement/production stills. 

VOICES AND VISIONS looking for videos by 
multicultural artists living in OR. WA, ID. MT. No. CA 
(to San Jose), and BC (Canada). Sept. screening series 
cosponsored by 91 1 & People of Color in Seattle. $50 
( under 30 min.). $100 (over 30 min.). All genres accepted. 
3/4" & VHS only. Deadline: Apr. 30. Send tape w/ 
support material and SASE to: 91 1 Contemporary Arts 
Center. 1 17 Yale Ave.N.. Seattle. WA; (206)682-6552. 

OPPORTUNITIES ■ GIGS 

ITHACA COLLEGE: Tenure eligible position avail, in 
Cinema & Photography Dept., Park Sch. of 
Communications, beg. Aug. 15. Successful candidate 
must be practicing filmmaker able to teach Intro & 
Intermediary 16mm film prod. & develop courses in 



areas of his/her specialization. PhD, ABD. or MFA 
required. Send resume & statement of interest incl. areas 
of teaching & prof, experience to: Gustav Landen, 
Chair, Cinema Search Comm., Dept. of Cinema & 
Photography, Park Sch. of Communications, Ithaca 
College. Ithaca. NY 14850. 

POSITIONS AVAILABLE for video editor/instructor, 
video artist/instructor, video prod, asst., for homeless 
youth program & youth-at-risk program. Mature, skilled, 
capable artists w/ ability to create & complete exciting 
projects for teens. Part-time paid positions. Resumes to: 
Sidewalks of New York Prods., 40 W. 27th St., New 
York. NY 10001. 

I NIVERSITYOFTEXAS AT ARLINGTON: Asst./Assoc. 
Prof, of TV/video tenure trk position avail. Teach 3 
courses per semester & independent study projects. 
Primarily revise & develop undergrad. curriculum in 
Art Dept. & supervise video prod, for broadcast. Beg. 
Sept. Deadline: Apr. 16. Send letter of appl., vitae, tapes, 
reviews & articles, catalogues, names of 3 refs & SASE 
to: Larry Travis, Acting Chair, Dept. of Art, Box 19089. 
Univ. of Texas at Arlington. Arlington. TX 76019. 

PUBLICATIONS 

BLACK AMERICA EMERGES: A Video Library From 
Slavery to Civil Rights, just released by California 
Newsreel. Series incl. 3 new releases & 3 classic 
rereleases that provides multidisciplinary overview of 
African Amer. life in years btwn slavery & civil rights 
movement. Catalogue also avail. Contact: California 
Newsreel. 149 Ninth St.. #420. San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 621-6196. 

NATIONAL GLIDE TO FUNDING IN ARTS & CULTURE 

now avail, from Foundation Center. Incl. 3.300 
descriptions of private, community & company- 
sponsored foundation, as well as corp. giving programs. 
S105 plus $2 shipping & handling. Contact: Foundation 
Center. 79 Fifth Ave.. New York. NY 10003; (800)424- 
9836. 

RESOURCES ■ FUNDS 

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION AWARDS grants of up to 
S5.000. NEA/AFI-sponsored regional fellowship 
program for media artists living in AK, MO. KS. NB. 
OK. PR. TX & US Virgin Islands. Deadline: May 1. 
Contact: SWAMP. 1 5 1 9 W. Main. Houston. TX 77006; 
(713)522-8592. 

ACM SIGGRAPH offers conference grants to computer 
graphics educators in initiating, updating, or 
strengthening computer graphics courses or programs. 
Also limited number of awards to minority institutions. 
Directed to those who teach or support computer graphics 
education in any discipline, incl. arts, computer science 
& engineering. Each grant provides full participation in 
SIGGRAPH "90. to be held in Dallas. TX. Aug. 6-10. 
Deadline: postmark by Apr. 2. Contact: G. Scott Owen. 
Mathematics & Computer Science. Georgia State Univ., 
Atlanta. GA 30303; (404) 651-2247. 

CORPORATION FOR PL'BLIC BROADCASTING Open 
Solicitation for TV Program Fund deadline: Sept. 14. 
Contact: CPB TV Program Fund, 1 1 1 1 - 1 6th St.. NW. 
Washington. DC 20036; (202) 955-5134. 

DIVERSE VISIONS REGIONAL GRANTS PROGRAM 

provides grants of $500-5.000 for personally-conceived 
projects by artists from IA, KS, MN. NE. ND. SD & WI. 
Encourages exploration of interdisciplinary work & 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



artists attempting to explore new definitions of or 
boundaries btwn cultures, art disciplines &/or traditions. 
Appl. deadline: Apr. 27. Contact: Intermedia Arts, 425 
Ontario St.. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 627- 
4444. 

DON & GEE NICHOLL FELLOWSHIPS IN SCREEN- 
WRITING avail, from Academy Foundation. Up to 5 1 - 
yr. fellowships of $20,000 ea. offered to new 
screenwriters who have not sold or worked professionaly 
on a screenplay or teleplay.Fellowsexpectedtocomplete 
a feature-length screenplay during fellowship yr. Appl. 
deadline: June I, 1990. Contact: Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts & Sciences, Nicholl Fellowships, Dept. G, 
8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 9021 1-1972. 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION FUND provides regional 
grants to film & video artists in TX, OK, AK, MS, KS, 
NE, PR & US Virgin Islands. Funded by NEA & region- 
al arts commissions. Appl. deadline: May 1. Also avail.. 
Feature Film Internships made possible by Media Project. 
Offers 2 internships to TX residents on feature films shot 
on location there or produced &/or directed by Texans. 
Appl. deadline: May 1 . Contact: Katie Cokinos, Informa- 
tion Services, SWAMP, 1519 West Main, Houston, TX 
77006. 

MULTI-SITE COLLABORATIONS PROGRAM supports 
collaborative projects among artists' orgs throughout 
US. Grants of $5-25,000 to selected projects completed 
by Sept. 30, 1 99 1 , submitted on behalf of 2 or more arts 
orgs, 1 of which must be artists' org. & full NAAO 
member. Program will not fund individual or completed 
projects. Deadline: May 1. Contact: NAAO, 918 F St, 
NW, Washington, DC 20004; (202) 347-6350. 

NAMAC MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE GRANTS: At 

least 9 technical assistance grants of $4,000 for hands- 
on management expertise & training projects beginning 
in June & completed by Apr. 1 99 1 . Any nonprofit media 
org. eligible, except last year's awardees & recipients of 
NEA Challenge/Advancement grants. Deadline: Apr. 6. 
For appl., write: NAMAC. 480 Potrero Ave., San 
Francisco, CA 941 10; for info, call: (415) 861-0202. 

ORGANIZATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM of Natl 

Assn. of Artists' Orgs (NAAO) offers grants of $500 to 
$4,000 to assist artists orgs seeking to hire consultants 
forhands-on mgmt. expertise & training. Appl. deadline: 
May 1, 1990. Contact: Organizational Asst. Program, 
NAAO. 918 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20004. 

RHODE ISLAND STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 

Individual Artists Support for Artist Development Grants, 
Artist Fellowships & AIE Artist Roster: Apr. 1 . Contact: 
RISCA, 95 Cedar St.. Ste. 103, Providence, RI 02903. 



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APRIL 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



MEMORANDA 



1989 DONOR- AD VISED FUND 
WINNERS 

TheEdelmanFamilv Fund, one of FI\ Fs Donor- 
Advised Funds, awarded SI 6. 1 50 to tour social 
issue projects ihai "promise to challenge, inform 
or question audiences on important issues." Cath- 
erine Ryan and Pamela Cohen were awarded 
S5.000 for Maria's Story, a documentarv portrait 
of a middle-aged w oman in the northern hi IK of El 
Salvador. Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Teen- 
bj Joan Jubela, which allows teens to 
portra) themselves through video, was also 
awarded $5,000. Your Home, Your TV, bv Mat- 
thew Cieller. was awarded S3. 550. This film is the 
first historx o\ television that focuses on the TV 
set and the waj it changed families who placed it 
in their midst. Susan Kalish was awarded $2,600 
for Eritrean Family, a studv of the role of w omen 
in Eritrean societv and the effect of drought and a 
longstanding war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. 
The Marjorie Benton Peace Prize went to two 
films. Susan Korda and Da\id Leitner were 
aw arded $5,000 for I tenna Is Different: 50 Years 
After the Anschluss. Filmed in 1988 during the 
controversy over Kurt Waldheim's Nazi affili- 
ations during World War 11. this film depicts 
Austnans addressing a past that had been sup- 
pressed and denied. Mark Mori and Susan Robin- 



PROGRAM NOTES 



son also received S5.000 for Building Bombs, a 
film focusing on the choices made in the disposal 
of nuclear waste 

Fl VF vv ishes to thank the Benton Foundation. 
Marjorie Benton, the Edelman family, and the 
Beldon Fund for their contributions to this year's 
cycle. FIVF would also like to thank panel mem- 
bers Lillian Jimenez, Janet Stemburg. and Winnie 



ATvT/FTVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS 

Eugene Aleinikoff,* Skip Blumberg (vice 
president), Christine Choy, Dee Davis 
(secretary), Loni Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Dai Sil 
Kim-Gibson (chair), Tom Luddy,* Lourdes 
Portiilo, Robert Richter (president), Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* Deborah 
Shaffer, Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, John Taylor 
Williams,* Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



Scherrer for their time and knowledge, and a very 
warm thanks to Barbara Abrash for her dedication 
as administrator of the fund. Details for next years 
funding cycle will be available this summer. 

MEMBERABILIA 

Kudos to Mark Mori, w hose film Building Bombs 
has earned a Silver Hugo at the Chicago Interna- 
tional Film Festival, a Bronze Award at the New 
York Exposition of Short Film& Video & Cum 
Laude at the International Medical & Scientific 
Film Festival in Italy. 

Congratulations to Michael Moore, w hose film 
Roger & Me was named Best Documentary by the 
National Society of Film Critics. 

Congrats to Jonathan Wacks. whose Powwow 
Highway has achieved an Independent Spirit 
Award nomination for Best Feature Film from 
the Independent Feature Project West. 

Calvin Skaggs has received a S 1 -million grant 
from the National Endow ment for the Human- 
ities for a miniseries on the literary family of 
Henry. William, and Alice James. Way to go 
Calvin! 

Kudos to Renee Tajima & Christine Choy. 
winners of a 1990 Justice in Action Award from 
the Asian American Legal Defense & Educa- 
tion Fund. 



MARY JANE SKALSKI 
MEMBERSHIP/PROGRAMMING DIRECTOR 

Recently I heard a member of the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers remark that 
when he first mov ed to New York City, he thought 
there would be lots of screenings rooms, bars, or 
hangouts where producers w ould go just to "sit 
around and talk about film." The reality of New 
York turned out to be quite different. Now . like so 
many independents in all parts of the country .this 
producer is still trying to figure out ways to make 
contact with his professional peers. Recognizing 
that networking is a priority for many of our 
members. FIVF is setting up several programs 
w ith this in mind. 

A new monthly series of screenings and discus- 
sions of works-in-progress. called In Production. 
was initiated in March. Organized in collabora- 
tion w ith Downtown Community Television and 
the New York Foundation for the Arts, this series 
highlights independent work in all various gen- 
res — features, documentaries, narrative shorts, 
experimental work, animation. 

FIVF"s seminar program will continue to in- 
volve media artists as speakers, focusing on a 
given topic from a maker's perspective. Indepen- 
dent film- and videomakers are invited to speak 



about some aspect of their work — archival re- 
search, the production process, distribution, and 
so on. Works and clips are screened, but the 
emphasis is on discussion. Producers will share 
w ith other producers how they found the money, 
agonized over the proposal and sample reel, fed 
the crew . edited in the desert, overcame unfore- 
seen obstacles. Giving filmmakers a chance to 
speak informally about their work allows them 
and the audience to share common problems and 
creative solutions. 

Seminars in April will include an evening de- 
voted to video venues, with representatives on 
hand from the independent showcase series on 
public television P.O.\ '.. the WNET series Inde- 
pendent Focus, and curators from a major art 
museum and an alternative space to discuss their 
programming priorities and selection processes. 
Film- and v ideomakers who have had their work 
exhibited in these venues will also be in atten- 
dance, ready to ask informed questions and tell 
their side of the story. Also scheduled for April is 
a seminar, cosponsored by Women Make Movies, 
on women's images of women on video. Another 
upcoming seminar will explore new video tech- 
nologies and softw are. such as high definition TV 
and Macintosh Hypermedia, which will be dis- 
cussed both by their manufacturers and indepen- 
dents utilizing them. 



FIVF is also trying to bring film- and video- 
makers together outside New York City. We're 
talking with various media arts centers around the 
country about cosponsoring seminars and screen- 
ings of local members' works. To help get this 
started. I need to hear from AIVF members. Drop 
me a note or give me a call, and let me know 
w hat's going on in your neighborhood, what serv- 
ices and businesses are working with indepen- 
dents, how are independents interacting w ith local 
media arts centers, or what concerns you have as 
an independent producer. 

AIVF is one of the few national organizations 
that directly represents media artists. In addition 
to being a professional service organization, we 
represent the collective voice of independent 
producers in lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. The 
more members we have, the stronger our voice 
becomes. This was clearly evident during the 
formation of the Independent Television Service 
and it w ill again become critical when Congress 
holds reauthorization hearings for the National 
Endowment for the Arts this spring. You can help 
bolster our numbers and strengthen our impact by 
contacting me with information on any related 
groups or conferences w here AIVF should spread 
w ord about our programs, benefits, and interests 
as a professional group. Greater numbers and 
diversity benefit us all. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1990 



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CONTENTS 







# 










1 






COVER: For many independent directors, 
me odor's art a shrouded in mystery, and 
the language and styles of acting remain 
unfamiliar. And yet, "Actors are the most 
i mporta nt element du ring production; if the 
acting doesn't work, nothing else will," 
testifies one director in "Body/Language," 
by Manohla Oargis. Acting techniques vary, 
ranging from the narurafistic approach 
favored by director Lizzie Borden for her 
feature Born in Flames to a broader style 
mat stops just short of camp, as lorry 
Maxwell adopted for the rote of the scientist 
in Todd Haynes' new him Poison (cover 
photo). The origins of the various acting 
techniques are and how directors pick and 
choose styies appropriate to their subjects 
ore among me topics discussed. Photo; 
Russell Fine. 



FEATURES 

24 For an Impure Cinevideo 

by Ernest Larsen 

28 Body /Language: Acting Styles, the Rehearsal Process, 
and Performance Politics 

by Manohla Dargis 

3 MEDIA CUPS 

Fashions in Funding: British Independent Producers' Organization 
Phased Out 

by Patricia Thomson 

Toronto Film Groups Consolidate 

by Kelly Anderson 

Arts Suffer Cuts by Boro Bosses 

Strike at Stock Footage Archive 

by Richard Thompson 

Jack Smith: 1932-1989 

by Michael Moon 

Sequels 

9 FIELD REPORTS 

Media in the Present Tense: Highlights from the 1990 Berlin Video Festival 

by Martha Gever 

The Filmmakers' Choice: Black Directors Lauded at the US Film Festival 

by Peter Broderick 

16 LEGAL BRIEF 

Calling the Shots: Contractual Agreements between Producers and Directors 

by Marc Jacobson 

1 8 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You — Pandora's Boxes I: Digital Video 

by Rick Feist 

20 BOOK REVIEW 

Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression 

reviewed by Nancy Graham 

22 TALKING HEADS 

Northern Lights, Camera, Action: A Profile of Alaskan Production 
Company Af f inityf ilms 

by Janice Drickey 

33 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

34 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

38 CLASSIFIEDS 

40 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 

ATVF Lobbies against NEA Content Restrictions 

PROGRAM NOTES 

by Barbara Abrash 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



The Suffolk Counts 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 



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for 
1990 



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MAY 1990 

VOLUME 13, NUMBER 4 



Publisher 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 
Production Staff: 

Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Janice Drickey 
Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Tread way 
Jamie Shapiro 
Ruth Copeland 
Karl Soehnlein 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, Ml 071 10 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in inde- 
pendent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services 
for independents and the general public. Publication of 
The Independent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc., except where 
otherwise noted. Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous appearance 
in The Independent. ISSN 0731 5198 The Inde- 
pendent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index. 

S Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 1990 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Carol 
Selton, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 

Aleinikoff, * Adrienne Benton,* Skip Blumberg (vice 
president), Christine Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Tom 
Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter (president), 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* Deborah 
Shaffer, Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, John Taylor Williams, * 
Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



EDIA CLIP 



FASHIONS IN FUNDING 

British Independent Producers 5 Orgam 



zation Phased Out 



"The British Film 
Institute no longer 
seems to think 
there is a need for 
people from the 
mainstream to 
associate with 
people who are 
experimental, on 
the fringes of 
mainstream 
production, or who 
are theorists and 
educators." 



The axe finally fell on the Independent Film, 
Video, and Photography Association (IFVPA), 
Great Britain's membership organization for 
independent producers. Its demise on March 31 
after 15 years of operation represents another 
serious blow to the British independent media 
scene, which has suffered repeated attacks from 
Tories bent on the elimination of grant support for 
the arts. 

Like last year's closing of the Society for 
Education in Film and Television (SEFT) and the 
Women's Film and Television Network [see 
"Threat of Sunset Funding Looms over British 
Media Groups," April 1 989] , the end of the IFVPA 
is the result of the British Film Institute's (BFI) 
withdrawal of funding. BFI started to hint about 
cutbacks a year ago and ordered IVFPA to under- 
take a self-review examining how the organiza- 
tion might reduce its reliance on grant subsidies. 
IFVPA complied, issuing a report which con- 
cluded the organization was in need of change but 
would require a year or two to shift to a "mixed 
economy funding base." When BFI first requested 
the report, it appeared they might gradually phase 
out support. Instead, the cutback was sudden and 
complete. On January 26 BFI announced that 
funding for IFVPA would cease in nine weeks, 
refusing pleas for transitional support. Since 
IFVPA devoted much of the year to preparation of 
the report rather than fundraising, they had no 
revenues for 1989/90 other than the £3 1 ,000 BFI 
grant and thus were forced to shut down when it 
was not renewed. 

Over the past year, BFI's funding priorities 
have shifted from general operating support for 
facilities and organizations to production grants 
on a project-by-project basis. IFVPA is a casualty 
of this policy change, which is itself indicative of 
an underlying shift in BFI's analysis of the state of 
independent production in the UK. According to 
Nigel Power, IFVPA 's national coordinator, "The 
BFI sees the predominant trend as one of fragmen- 
tation and a collapse of all constituencies, and a 
move towards a new pluralism — which definitely 
exists. But we would say there's strength in diver- 
sity, rather than weakness in fragmentation." BFI 
indicated to Power that they believed IFVPA no 
longer had a constituency to represent. But, count- 
ers Power, "We maintain there is still a grant- 
aided sector and that it's very important. It's the 
first step on the ladder for people who want to 
move into the industry. And it's valuable in a 
much broader, cultural way, being a seedbed for 
ideas and new talent." 



Power was also told by BFI that the other 
industry associations could adequately handle pro- 
ducers ' needs. However, these groups — the Inde- 
pendent Programme Producers Association (IPPA) 
and the Producers Association — represent a dif- 
ferent league, serving the needs of commercially 
successful producers ranging from large compa- 
nies working with Wamer Brothers to smaller 
ones with Channel 4 commissions. They can 
afford the substantial membership fees and pricey 
services, which many IFVPA members cannot. 
Although there was some overlap, IFVPA gener- 
ally represented producers working with lower 
budgets, experimental media artists, and social 
issue documentary producers who do not neces- 
sarily aspire to work within the television industry 
or its aesthetic parameters. IPPA and the Produc- 
ers Association have showed no signs of courting 
IFVPA members. Says Power, "BFI no longer 
seems to think there is a need for people from the 
mainstream to associate with people who are 
experimental, on the fringes of mainstream pro- 
duction, or who are theorists and educators. What ' s 
going to happen is the people who are already in 
the producers' associations will remain there. The 
other people — the film and video workshops, the 
film distributors, exhibitors, the whole range of 
ancillary services — are going to have no space in 
which they can meet and discuss ideas and ways 
to move forward." 

But all is not entirely lost. There is already talk 
of relaunching IFVPA as an informal network of 
media groups. Its revival will be the subject of 
discussion at several conferences. The first, ap- 
propriately called the New Uncertainty, will be 
held on June 2 in conjunction with the super 8 
festival in Leicester. As Power envisions it, "The 
best route would be a realignment of a variety of 
organizations that represent bits of the indepen- 
dent film and video sector — the network of Chan- 
nel 4 franchised workshops, the Association of 
Black Workshops, the Association of Media 
Education in Scotland, Women in Film's Televi- 
sion Network, which is attempting to revive it- 
self — and form some kind of umbrella organiza- 
tion, an information and communication network." 
PATRICIA THOMSON 

TORONTO FILM GROUPS 
CONSOLIDATE 

Two major entities in Ontario's film scene have 
joined forces, creating a new film center in Toronto. 
The Ontario Film Institute (OFI), a federal agency 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 3 



which acted as a library, archive, and screening 
facility, will now operate under the aegis of the 
Festh al of Festivals, one of Canada's biggest and 
oldest film festivals and the largest showcase of 
new Canadian film. The duo will share both an 
executive director. Festival of Festival's Helga 
Stephenson, and a board of directors but will 
operate under different management teams. Both 
will relocate to a downtown office space, opening 
their doors on May 1 . Year-round screenings will 
commence in early June. 

The impetus for the consolidation of the festi- 
val and OFI was a government-commissioned 
report evaluating ways to keep the struggling film 
agency alive. There had long been a sense that OFI 
was geographically handicapped, being housed in 
Don Mills, a suburb of Toronto, and suffered a 
loss of audiences to screening facilities that were 
opening downtown. "There was a grow ing move- 
ment to move the institute to a more central 
location," says OFI founder and director Gerald 
Pratley. In addition, OFI had outgrown its quar- 
ters in the Ontario Science Center, whose screen- 
ing requirements prevented OFI from showing 
films on a daily basis. "Originally, I was hoping 
for an independent institute downtown," Pratley 
admits, "but the money wasn't there." Moving 
OFI to a more central location and keeping it a 
stand-alone agency was one of the options pro- 
posed in the report. However, the more financially 
viable solution was to fold OFI into an exisiting 
film organization, such as the Festival of Festi- 
vals. OFI, which has been renamed Cinematheque 
Ontario, will be supported by an annual govern- 
ment grant of $800,000 cdn for three years, after 
which it will become autonomous, like the festi- 
val. 

Cinematheque Ontario and the festival will be 
housed in an old Warner Brothers building on 
Carlton Street for the next several years while a 
larger permanent home is sought. Frequent screen- 
ings will be held on site, supplemented by what 
Stephenson calls guerrilla cinematheque — rent- 
ing larger local theaters as they are needed. Pro- 
gramming will include a strong emphasis on 
Canadian work, but will be "extremely varied, 
like the festival," she notes. "Independent theaters 
are scarce in Toronto, and there's a major gap in 
the promotion of independent film." Many films 
included in the Festival of Festivals, both Cana- 
dian and foreign, are never seen in the city again, 
lacking either distributor or showcase. Cine- 
matheque Ontario will help fill this gap. Although 
it and the festival will retain separate and inde- 
pendent programmers, there will inevitably be a 
sharing of ideas and an overlap in the works 
screened. 

In addition to the screenings, Cinemateque 
Ontario will have two other main programs. There 
is its renowned library, which will be open to the 
public and contains over 1 5,000 English-language 
books on film, as well as a large collection of film 
scores and soundtracks, posters, stills, and infor- 
mation files. The Cinemateque will also plans to 
launch a publications division in the near future. 



Despite his initial fears that the OFI would get 
lost in the much larger festival, OFI's founder 
Pratley is no longer worried. "Archives need to be 
taken care of. The new center will have the space 
and the staff to do that, and all of the resources we 
have now will be expanded," he explains. His 
fears were allayed by the hiring of James Quandt, 
director of the Toronto community arts organiza- 
tion Harbourfront, as Cinematheque Ontario's 
new film programmer. While at Harbourfront, 
Quandt built up a reputation among the local film 
community by programming various Canadian 
film series and organizing retrospectives of such 
innovative foreign filmmakers as Andrei Tarkov- 
sky , Nagisa Oshima, and Sven Nykvist. "With the 
hiring of Quandt, I think community fears have 
been laid to rest." confirms Stephenson, referring 
to additional complaints noted in the consultants' 
report that the festival acts as a "closed shop" un- 
conducive to "the broad ownership and commu- 
nity participation necessary for the success of the 
OFI." In addition to Quandt, two other staff 
members have been hired: Michele Maheux as 
director of communications and chief librarian 
Susan Murray, who was previously with Can- 
ada's National Film Archives. 

For further information, contact the Festival of 
Festivals and Cinematheque Ontario at 70 Carlton 
Street, Toronto M5B 1L7, Canada; (416) 967- 
7371. 

KELLY ANDERSON 

Kelly Anderson is a freelance videomaker and 
educator with Rise and Shine Productions in New 
York City. 

ARTS SUFFER CUTS BY BORO 
BOSSES 

Seven out of 10 tourists come to New York City 
to take advantage of its cultural activities and 
institutions. But the city may find itself increas- 
ingly hard pressed to live up to its reputation as the 
cultural capital. Midway through the fiscal year 
and without warning, city officials cut the pot of 
money devoted to small, medium-sized, and new 
an institutions by a debilitating 87 percent. While 
politicians can convincingly point to the city's 
enormous and alarming deficit, it's widely be- 
lieved that the real reason for the gutting of the 
Department of Cultural Affairs' Program Devel- 
opment Fund owes as much to city politics and 
borough rivalries as it does to fiscal belt-tighten- 
ing. 

About 80 percent of the Department of Cultural 
Affairs' (DCA) S 1 70-million budget goes to New 
York's mega-institutions — the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, 
Botanical Gardens, etc. Most of the remainder is 
disbursed legislatively. But $940,000 was allo- 
cated this year to the Program Development Fund 
(PDF), a pool of money administered by DCA 
commissioner Mary Schmidt Campbell, as op- 
posed to the borough presidents or city council. 
Benefitting from past PDF grants of $5,000 to 



The reed reason for 
the gutting of the 
Department of 
Cultural Af fears' 
Program 

Development Fund 
owes as much to New- 
York City politics and 
borough rivalries as it 
does to fiscal belt- 
tightening. 



$10,000 were many important media arts organi- 
zations based in New York City: New York Media 
Alliance, Women Make Movies, Anthology Film 
Archives, Channel L Working Group, Collective 
for Living Cinema, Film/Video Arts.Asian Cin- 
evision, Film News Now, Electonic Arts Inter- 
mix, and the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, among others. 

In December city officials passed a budget 
reduction package that stripped $821,000 from 
PDF. reducing it to a mere $ 1 20,000. Arts groups 
anticipating PDF grants, based on past funding 
patterns, were told in early January that they 
would receive no money this fiscal year. How- 
ever, many had already written projected DCA 
income into their 1989/90 budgets, since past 
notification of DCA grants had been retroactive. 

Common sentiment is that the the Board of 
Estimates singled out PDF for radical cuts in order 
to send a signal to Campbell. The borough chiefs 
were sensitive to the fact that the overwhelming 
majority of PDF grantees were from Manhattan 
(even though this accurately reflected the applica- 
tions received). Also, they were reputedly irked 
that Campbell had previously recommended scal- 
ing back their pots of arts money while leaving her 
PDF unscathed by deficit-reduction measures. 

Chances of DCA suffering from interborough 
rivalries next year may be lessened thanks to the 
recent restructuring of the New York City govern- 
ment. It remains to be seen whether Mayor David 
Dinkins will work to restore any of these funds. In 
the meantime, DCA is recommending that arts 
groups get friendly with their city council repre- 
sentatives, who can recommend line-item grants — 
a proposition that strikes many as old-style politi- 
cal patronage. 

PT 



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STRIKE AT STOCK FOOTAGE 
ARCHIVE 

Workers at Film Search, a New York-based film 
and video stock footage agency, walked out on 
their jobs on Monday, March 5. The 10-year-old 
company, which was the first to specialize in 
making stock footage available to commercial 
producers, was sold in October 1987 to the Image 
Bank (TIB), the world's largest stock photogra- 
phy company, which has 50 offices worldwide. 
Film- and videotape editors, secretaries, clerical 
workers, a receptionist, and a bookkeeper joined 
the walkout and the following day picketed TIB 's 
headquarters at 1 1 1 Fifth Avenue, carrying plac- 
ards protesting unfair labor practices. 

The strikers claimed that working conditions 
and benefits have deteriorated since Film Search 
was acquired by TIB. They charged that health 
insurance and dental benefits may soon be cur- 
tailed, job descriptions are vague, workers are 
asked to perform tasks they were not hired to do, 
and work hours are excessive without appropriate 
compensation. Declaring themselves members of 
Motion Picture and Videotape Editors Local 771 
of the International Alliance of Theatrical and 
Stage Employees (IATSE), they also claimed 
they are underpaid relative to union workers per- 
forming similar jobs in the film and video indus- 
try. "It's also a question of basic dignity. People 
aren't treated with respect or dignity," said Tim 
Lally, assistant business agent of Local 771. 

The union promptly got behind Film Search's 
workers, filing charges against TIB with the 
National Labor Relations Board. Specifically, they 
alleged that Don Fedynak, a film editor at Film 
Search, was not recognized by TIB as a shop 
steward and was unfairly fired. They also stated 
that TIB unfairly terminated the striking workers, 
and that it refused to deal with 771. 

TIB President Stanley Kanney responded that 
TIB does not recognize the union as the strikers' 
representative, since, he claims, it was not prop- 
erly elected by the workers. "I have no knowledge 
of any election to unionize," he stated. According 
to Kanney, TIB has a good record of employee 
loyalty, noting that of the 260 employees in TIB's 
New York office, less than 20 walked out. Rebut- 
ting specific charges, he said that TIB is reviewing 
its insurance policies due to rising costs, but no 
action has been taken. While acknowledging that 
compensation is not equal to Hollywood produc- 
ers' rates, Kanney pointed out that it is within the 
normal range paid by the rest of the industry. He 
added that employees are given comp time, rather 
than overtime wages. Since many jobs in the film 
and video business overlap, Kanney believes it is 
in the workers' interest to learn and practice 
various job skills. 

As for not communicating with the workers 
who walked out, Kanney replied, "We've made 
two attempts to talk with them. On [March 9], we 
told them if they come back on Monday, their jobs 
are open." If the workers unionize according to 
the rules established by the Labor Relations Board, 



pledged Kanney , TIB management "will sit down 
and talk with them." IATSE's Lally countered 
that 77 1 followed the correct procedure for union- 
izing the majority of workers at Film Search. 
"You can vote with your feet," he said, "demon- 
strating your majority status. That's what we did 
when we walked in together to ask to meet with 
management." The union's next move is to try to 
pressure TIB into coming to the bargaining table. 
They are calling upon users of the company's 
services, from producers to advertising agencies, 
to support their efforts through a boycott. 

RICHARD THOMPSON 

RichardThompson is a New York-based freelance 
writer. 

JACK SMITH: 1932-1989 

When Jack Smith died of an AIDS-related illness 
last September, downtown independent film- 
makers and performance artists lost one of their 
most inspired and outrageous models. Smith was 
best know for his 1963 film Flaming Creatures, in 
which a number of people in various kinds of drag 
carry on a mock orgy amidst a swirl of visual 
textures that recall the collaborations of von 
Sternberg and Dietrich at their most seductive. 
One of the glossy art monthlies said in its brief 
obituary that Flaming Creatures was "vaguely 
homoerotic." It is vaguely homoerotic the way 
Joan Crawford's later films are vaguely melodra- 
matic. In Flaming Creatures Smith not only trans- 
gressed the fiercely enforced bar on showing male 
frontal nudity, he compounded the offense by 
treating the male organ like any other accessory. 
In one of the film's most memorable shots, the 
limp penis of one of the Creatures is casually 
draped over the shoulder of another seated in front 
of him. The film's insouciance about body parts 
and sexual identity caused it to be busted repeat- 
edly, and it became a cause celebre. Angry at 
seeing his "comedy" turned into "a sex issue of the 
Cocktail World," as he put it in a l973Village 
Voice article, Smith withdrew Flaming Creatures 
from circulation. Consequently, it has been seen 
much less widely than other legendary films of the 
sixties underground, such as Kenneth Anger's 
Scorpio Rising. 

In addition to directing Scotch Tape (1962), 
Normal Love (1963), and No President (1969), 
Smith also starred in works by other filmmakers. 
Perhaps the most extraordinary of these perform- 
ances were those fashioned into Blonde Cobra by 
director Ken Jacobs (from footage shot by Bob 
Fleischner). Among his numerous appearances in 
underground film of the time, Smith is a particu- 
larly luminous presence in Jacobs' Little Stabs of 
Happiness and Star Spangled to Death, Ron Rice's 
Queen ofSheba Meets the Atom Man, and Andy 
Warhol's Batman — Dracula. 

In the late sixties and throughout the seventies 
Smith performed in his loft, often for only a hand- 
ful of people. He had accumulated a veritable 
mountain of junk — signs, discarded furniture, bro- 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 




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Jack Smith as he appeared 

shortly before his death 

playing the Spirit of Death in 

Ari Roussimoffs film 

Shadows in the City. 

Courtesy Ari Roussimoff 




ken toys, withered Christmas trees. Smith's tink- 
ering with phonographs and slide projectors for- 
ever on the blink or his meticulous rearranging of 
his collection of street detritus was itself some- 
times the performance. At other times he enacted 
his own versions of classic theater, leaning toward 
plays that feature desperate young men in extre- 
mis — Hamlet, Ibsen's Ghosts. Smith had an in- 
imitable way of making the utterly ridiculous and 
ineffably pathetic seem direct effects of each 
other in his always-on-the-verge-of-falling-apart 
performances of these texts. Admirers of Smith 
and his work are indebted to Jonas Mekas, Stefan 



Brecht, and J. Hoberman, who wrote accounts of 
these otherwise ephemeral productions. 

Smith had ideas about homelessness, landlord- 
ism, recycling, gender-fuck, and combatting the 
suppression and censorship of art long before any- 
one recognized how central these concerns would 
become to survival in the 1980s and '90s. He en- 
acted these ideas in the difficult way he lived, 
without benefit of institutional support of any 
kind. The Utopian fantasy toward which all his art 
tended was that of "Montezland" — named by 
Smith after the Universal Studios backlot that was 
an Arabian Nights fantasy filtered through Flor- 



ida motel architecture. It was here, in the decade 
after World War II, that Smith's idol Maria Montez 
starred in such low-budget features as Cobra 
Woman. The fascination of Gore Vidal's charac- 
ter Myra Breckinridge with Montez (Breckin- 
ridge finally turns into her near the end of Vidal's 
novel Myron) is only one example of Smith's 
broad influence on the filmmaking, writing, and 
performance of his time. The evolution of the 
underground/avant-garde "home movie," from 
Warhol and George and Mike Kuchar to early 
John Waters, was also heavily indebted to his in- 
novations, as were the enormously fertile experi- 
ments of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theater. 
Smith has perhaps withdrawn from the great 
rubbish heap of the city to dwell in Montezland. 
Yet through the gorgeousness of the visual images 
he produced and the unquenchable though caustic 
fervor with which he pursued his artistic career, he 
is still Flaming for many of us. 

MICHAEL MOON 

Michael Moon has an article on Jack Smith in 
October 57 (Spring 1990). He teaches American 
Literature and Gay Studies at Duke University. 

SEQUELS 

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footage uncovered by the research teams ["Double 
Vision: Teamwork on Eyes on the Prize II," April 
1990]. This footage and the extensive print mate- 
rials collected in connection with both Eyes I and 
II will soon be gathered into a permanent civil 
rights archive available to the public. While spe- 
cifics are still being worked out. Eyes' producer, 
Blackside, Inc., plans for the archive to be univer- 
sity-based. Users may not have to travel to the 
university, however, since the material, catalogued 
on database, will probably be available via mo- 
dem or on laser disk. Arrangements for the ar- 
chive should be finalized by the end of the year. 
For further information, contact: Judy Richardson, 
coordinator, Eyes on the Prize Archival Project. 
486 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 02118; (617) 
536-6900, ext. 242. 



New York City mayor David Dinkins recently 
appointed Thomas B. Morgan to take over as 
president of WNYC Communications Group, 
the company responsible for running the city- 
owned public television station WNYC-31, as 
well as an FM and AM radio station. Morgan, a 
writer and former press secretary to Mayor John 
Lindsay and Senators Eugene McCarthy and Adlai 
Stevenson, replaces Mary Perot Nichols, who 
presided for over a decade. Also leaving WNYC 
is programming vice president Chloe Aaron, who 
gained notoriety for her attack on Days of Rage: 
The Young Palestinians and for cancelling the 
award-winning investigative series The Kwitny 
Report. Echoing Dinkins' political priorities, 
Morgan states he is interested in having WNYC 
become a true "alternative to all other forms of 
television in the city," serving New York's unser- 
ved constituencies — e.g., single mothers, high 
school students — and acting as "a station that 
helps the people help themselves." 



Another Dinkins appointee is Jaynne Keyes as the 
new director of the Mayor's Office of Film, 
Theater and Broadcasting, replacing Patricia 
Scott. Keyes was previously commissioner of the 
New York State Governor's Office for Motion 
Picture and Television Development. She takes 
over an agency that faces difficult times ahead. 
New York City 's fiscal crisis resulted in the office's 
budget being slashed 50 percent this fiscal year 
and deeper cuts are anticipated in the year ahead. 



The National Black Programming Consortium 
has been selected by the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting to operate the African American 
Programming Consortium ["TV Diversity: Not 
in Name Only," December 1989]. Based in Co- 
lumbus. Ohio. NBPC will facilitate producing, 
acquiring, and distributing programs on African 
Americans for national broadcast on public tele- 
vision, and will act as the liaison between the 
stations. CPB, and the African American commu- 
nity. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



FIELD REPORTS 



MEDIA IN THE PRESENT TENSE 
Highlights from ttie 1990 Berlin Video Festival 



MARTHA GEVER 



Unlike the wealthier 
film festival 
organizations, 
MedienOperative 
Berlin does not have 
the wherewithal to 
increase the 
accessibility of its 
offerings. However, 
this hardly seemed to 
deter local viewers 
and a few out-of- 
towners, who 
frequented and 
sometimes filled the 
80-seat screening 
room. 



Berlin, February 1 990. The optimistic excitement 
following the opening of the wall has already 
given way to anxious speculations about future 
political relations between the two Germanys. 
Many intellectuals in both the East and West 
question the desirability of rapid reunification, at 
the same time discounting the likelihood that their 
hopes for a reformed, truly democratic socialist 
state will be realized after the March 18 elections 
of a new East German government. Into this 
atmosphere of uncertain speculation, the two- 
week long Berlin International Film Festival drew 
thousands of journalists, programmers and dis- 
tributors, buyers of all stripes, and independent 
artists from around the globe, many of us curious 
to see the radical social transformations taking 
place on the western edge of Eastern Europe. 

For my part, this meant returning to a city I last 
visited in the early seventies. Resolved to pay 
attention to the usually overlooked video pro- 
gram, which is autonomous but has run concur- 
rent with the flashier film festival for the past four 
years, I ventured into Amerika Haus, the Berlin 
headquarters of the US Information Agency. In 
the post-'68 era of social ferment, this landmark 
resembled a miniature fortress, heavily guarded 
by armed Marines and fronted with sheets of 
plywood replacing the plate glass windows re- 
peatedly smashed by students protesting US 
imperialism in Southeast Asia. For the duration of 
the 1990 festival, the nondescript two-story brick 
building, windows intact and guards posted only 
inside, was the site of an installation by New York 
videomaker Paul Garrin, entitled Yuppie Ghetto 
with Watchdog (No. 2). 



Although the machinery that drove the piece 
was fairly complicated, the scene constructed in 
the second floor gallery of Amerika Haus ap- 
peared unambiguous. The room was divided into 
two sections, separated by a simulated concrete 
wall topped with barbed wire, the curled razor 
type the Germans call "NATO wire," Garrin in- 
formed me. Viewers were encouraged to write 
graffiti on this surface — a collection of felt mark- 
ers lay on the floor of the room — and many did so. 
Slogans ranged from references to the social 
struggles in the US, e.g., a quote from Malcolm X: 
"It's not a question of civil rights. It's a question 
of human rights," to remarks pertinent to the 
immediate present, like "No reunification" 
scrawled above "No police state." 

A wire fence across the only break in this 
barricade prevented passage to the far side, where 
projected images of a cocktail party crowd cheer- 
fully drinking champagne played against a back- 
ground of scenes of violent police actions. The 
entry way was also blocked by another symbolic 
deterrent: a videotaped German shepherd who 
became increasingly ferocious as the viewer 
approached its station. The alterations in the dog's 
behavior, Garrin explained, were produced by an 
interactive system comprising a video camera 
scanning the room hooked up to a digitizing box. 
The digitizer translated this signal into MIDI 
pulses, which fed a Macintosh computer pro- 
grammed to instruct a laser disk player to display 
a looped shot or sequences of shots of the dog, 
determined by the viewer's position and move- 
ment. 

Garrin, who is best known for his technical 




The cocktail party/ police 
brutality juxtaposition in 
Paul Garrin's video 
installation Yuppie Ghetto 
with Watchdog (No. 2), 
on view at the USIA's 
Berlin headquarters 
during the 1990 Berlin 
Video Festival, repeats 
elements of his earlier 
videotape Free Society. 

Courtesy videomaker 



MAY 1990 



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woifc \uih Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kubota 
and his video documentation of the Tompkins 
Square police riot in 1 988, was the video festival's 
artist-in-residence. He was invited to show a 
program of tapes, in addition to his installation, by 
the event's sponsor, MedienOperative Berlin 
(MOB), a video group historically and structur- 
ally analogous to many regional media centers in 
the US. Initiated in 1986 as a second venue for 
video works screened in the Forum section of the 
Berlin Film Festival. MOB 's program is not yet an 
official component of the festival, nor does it 
seem destined to be incorporated in the near 
future. At least this was the opinion voiced by 
Micky Kwella, a founder of MOB and one of the 
seven organizers of the video festival. In the past 
two years, MOB has mounted a full schedule of 
screenings — 65 programs in 1990 — without sub- 
sidy from the film festival. This year, like the three 
official film sections, they offered reprises of 
several programs in East Berlin. 

One of the significant features of this year's 
video section was a series of evening screenings 
devoted to work presented by media organiza- 
tions in various countries. On the second day of 
the festival, for example, Steve Gallagher from 
the New York Foundation for the Arts showed a 
collection of 19 tapes, which was followed by 
another set of works by such US artists as Vana- 
lyne Green, Max Almy, and Rafael Montanez 
Ortiz. (The latter program was selected from 
about 400 tapes reviewed by the MOB jury and 
was scheduled as part of the 12-part main pro- 
gram.) The national programs included samplings 
from Videographe in Montreal; the Riga Video 
Zentrum (Latvia); Softvideo in Rome; Film and 
Video Umbrella in London; and the PBS series 
Alive from Off Center, produced in Minneapolis, 
among others. 

One drawback for the video aficionado who is 
not multilingual, in relation to these and other 
screenings at MOB, was the absence of subtitling 
or other forms of translation for most tapes. Un- 
like the wealthier film festival organizations, MOB 
does not have the wherewithal to increase the 
accessibility of its offerings. However, this hardly 
seemed to deter local viewers and a few out-of- 
towners, who frequented and sometimes filled the 
80-seat screening room. In addition to this room, 
equipped with a high-quality projection system, 
MOB 's space houses a comfortable cafe, adjoined 
by a smaller "monitor room," allowing 1 20 spec- 
tators in total. Audience numbers fluctuated con- 
siderably: I found the place nearly empty for two 
Sunday afternoon programs of tapes dealing with 
women and a standing-room-only crowd for the 
Dadaesque video "opera" Squee:angezaum, an 
ambitious but tedious production based on the 
writings of Russian Futurist Velimir Vladimirovic 
Chlebnikov made by Gianni Toti for the Italian 
network RAI. Stylistically, too, the work ran the 
gamut from Jon Alpert's deadpan documentary 
One Year in a Life of Crime, chronicling the 
exploits of three petty thieves from New Jersey, to 



overprocessed arty exercises, such as the Toti 
tape. Likewise situated in the latter category, the 
bulk of short tapes in the festival seemed intent on 
demonstrating the wonders of electronic gadg- 
etry, thereby reproducing a host of formalist cliches 
about video as a distinct art form. 

Even so, political concerns were evident in 
many of the jury's choices, and the most promis- 
ing of these married sophisticated postproduction 
techniques with social history. Two instances of 
this essayistic approach appeared in the women's 
program: Sara Diamond's Ten Dollars or Noth- 
ing, a richly illustrated first-person account of 
labor organizing by Native women in a British 
Canadian fish cannery, and O-NORM-AL, by Anna 
Steininger and Use Gassinger, based on inter- 
views with 17 working-class Austrian women 
discussing their daily lives. 

Although Kwella said that MOB accredited 
some 90 foreign guests from 16 countries, many 
of them presumably press representatives and 
programmers, Gallagher noted less international 
traffic in tapes compared to his experience at last 
fall's Osnabriick festival (reviewed in the March 
issue of The Independent). At the earlier event, 
Gallagher said, he found considerable interest in 
US video work: Shu LeaCheang's Color Schemes 
and Julie Zando's Hey, Bud will travel to the 
Tokyo Image Forum as a result of their Osnabriick 
exposure, and Spanish TV subsequently aired 
several tapes by Jem Cohen. Gallagher was also 
invited to bring tapes to festivals in Helsinki and 
Istanbul, as well as Berlin, based on contacts made 
there. In Berlin, however, he found little activity 
along these lines. The differences might lie in the 
different emphasis in each locale, with Osnabriick 
attracting what Gallagher characterized as a more 
"professional" audience whereas the Berlin Video 
Festival is decidedly geared for local videoastes. 
Another disappointment Gallagher encountered 
was the unwillingness of the Berlin festival to pay 
the exhibiting artists for their work, even though 
they originally promised to do so, leading him to 
speculate that the festival suffered from discrep- 
ancies between their ambitions and what they 
could actually accomplish. (It seems reasonable 
to point out that almost all film festivals, Berlin 
included, never pay for the work they show.) 

The scope of the video festival was truly inter- 
national, although work from Asia and Africa was 
scarce; the only contribution from either conti- 
nent was a program of Japanese tapes, compiled 
by the San Francisco group Art Com. But the 
highlight of the entire schedule was decidedly 
local — an evening screening devoted to recent 
documentary tapes from the GDR (German 
Democratic Republic), followed by a discussion 
with the producers (which I was able to follow 
thanks to Reinhard Wolf's generous and patient 
translating). This group featured both indepen- 
dents and several members of the team respon- 
sible for the youth magazine show Elf 99 (Eleven 
99), which operates as a department of one of the 
GDR's two television channels, producing two 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



two-hour programs per week as well as occasional 
specials. Earlier in the day, several members of 
the Elf 99 staff joined a producer of Freistil 
(Freestyle, made and broadcast four times a year 
at regional station WDR in Koln) for a discussion 
of television magazine formats. Running between 
these two sessions, where documentary methods 
were challenged from a variety of positions, was 
a series of short, abstract, and undistinguished 
tapes by participants in a video workshop at the 
TV studio of the East German Communist youth 
organization. 

The excerpts from Elf 99 shown in the after- 
noon segment proved remarkably conventional — 
a report on the first Playboy bunnies in East 
Germany, several music videos and a longer por- 
trait of a rock musician, scenes from a motor rally 
in the Sahara. In his opening comments on the 
panel, Elf 99 producer Michael Beck objected to 
the selection, adding that the five-month-old pro- 
gram usually contains substantial political report- 
ing and has covered the peace movement, New 
Forum, and other major public issues. MOB's 
Kwella, who acted as moderator, countered that 
the clip was characteristic, if superficial, and 
stated that £//99's "mythic reputation" for inves- 
tigative journalism can be credited to only a few 
programs. 

Immediately, my curiosity about those suppos- 
edly exceptional programs was piqued — and later 
satisfied at the evening screening. Meanwhile the 




audience for the panel discussion was introduced 
to the inner workings of TV in the GDR circa early 
1990. Elf 99 boasts a staff of 100, including 30 
"editors" (what we call producers), but suffers 
from a dearth of field equipment; even their five 
computer editing systems must be reserved two 
weeks in advance. Also, the uncertain political 
future has engendered anarchy in the state-run TV 
system. Elf 99 producer Sabine Grothe admitted 
that there has been virtually no coordination of 
their programs, with many of those working on 



One of the evening programs 
devoted to video production in 
different countries was a US 
selection compiled and presented 
by Steve Gallagher, who works at 
the New York Foundation for the 
Arts. Rafic Azzouny appears in Beth 
B and Ida Applebroog's 1 989 
Belladonna, screened as part of 
that program as well as in the 
festival's juried main program. 

Courtesy videomakers 



the series at odds about the direction it should take. 
She also mentioned the effects of job insecurity, 
linked to the prospect of unification with West 
Germany and the anticipated dismantling of so- 
cialist institutions. Asked how TV producers in 
the GDR will respond to the "challenge of adver- 
tising" (taking for granted that this is the only 
available alternative to government-sponsored 
TV), Grothe replied that this may be the only way 
that they will be able to finance their operations, 
although she is opposed to the practice. 



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Nonetheless, the Freistil spokesperson pro- 
posed a more cheerful outlook, telling the Elf 99 
group, "You're at the beginning of more demo- 
cratic TV; we're at the end." And bothGrothe and 
Beck noted the liberties Elf 99 has taken in choos- 
ing subjects and their treatment. "There is a vac- 
uum of power w ithin which journalists are free to 
act," Beck explained. The potential of this new- 
found freedom was then demonstrated in the pro- 
grams shown that evening. The most entertaining 
of these was a three-part expose of the lifestyles of 
the East German rich and famous — a series of vis- 
its to Wandlitz, a housing compound occupied by 
high Party officials until they were shamed into 
abandoning their perks. 

The first installment of the saga begins w ith Jan 
Carpentier. an Elf 99 reporter, announcing his 
crew 's intent to take the audience on an unofficial 
tour of this heavily guarded, suburban develop- 
ment, which became a notorious symbol of class 
privilege in a purportedly classless society. De- 
nied entry by the gatehouse guard, who informs 
them that they must procure a pass from the 
Committee for Agitation of the Central Commit- 
tee, they proceed to the proper office, only to find 
that the Committee for Agitation has been dis- 
solved. The red tape rolls on from office to office, 
where confused bureaucrats become the support- 
ing cast in this comedy, where the bemused Car- 
pentier functions as a social critic in league with 
the audience. Finally, the crew is told that the 
Central Committee w ill grant permission for the 
visit. 

Part two opens at the Wandlitz guardhouse. 
where the occupants of the Elf 99 van find them- 
selves in a long line of cars awaiting entrance. 
They join a pack of journalists and the tour com- 
mences, prefaced by a plea for balanced media 
coverage from the official guide. Once inside an 
apartment which, prior to the government shake- 
down, had been home to a Politburo member, the 
guide announces that they will find very few 
imports from the West, whereupon we see a close- 
up of a West German dishwasher. (When shots of 
the well-appointed kitchen appear on the screen, 
someone in the audience commented. "What's so 
special about this? How do you think the guys in 
Bonn live?") A trip to the compound's shop fol- 
lows, where the camera pans the well-stocked 
shelves of imported wines, cosmetics, and bins of 
fresh fruit — the most coveted commodities in 
East Germany. The program concludes with an 
epilogue, where Carpentier reports that this tape 
w as originally aired three times in 24 hours, due to 
an overwhelming number of phone calls request- 
ing its rebroadcast. 

The sequel to '"Going to Paradise." as the sec- 
ond pan was subtitled, was shot several weeks 
later. Already construction workers have made 
great progress in turning the luxury housing into 
a rehabilitation center for people recovering from 
disabling illnesses. In addition to the drama en- 
tailed in the rapid transformation indicative of 
broader social initiatives, the most revealing 



moments in this report occur during an interview 
w ith a former maintenance worker. Now engaged 
in renovating the compound, this man and his 
coworkers refused to appear on camera for fear 
that their neighbors might recognize them, since it 
was widely known that everyone employed at 
Wandlitz was a member of the state security 
police, the detested Stasi. 

Two other Elf 99 programs — ErstMdhler 90 
(First-Time Voter 1990), presenting of a collec- 
tive interview with a group of talkative and some- 
times reactionary 17- and 18-year-olds outside 
their youth club, and a program on local organiz- 
ing efforts in a village endangered by stripmining — 
were also screened, substantiating the claims for 
the series' political acuity made earlier in the day. 
On the same bill were two independent documen- 
taries, cruder in form but of great sociological — 
and historical — interest. Kerstin Siiske' sMakula- 
tur 7/10/89 contrasts the official celebration of the 
fortieth anniversary of the DDR in Berlin — tanks 
on parade, schoolchildren singing patriotic cho- 
ruses, and so on — with scenes of popular resis- 
tance to this public display of power on the eve of 
the national uprising that deposed the chief cele- 
brants. On the panel that followed. Siiske ex- 
plained that she had shot the tape illegally with 
borrow ed video 8 equipment and bartered editing 
time at DEFA. the state film studio, trading post- 
production for coffee, another precious commod- 
ity. 

Excerpts from Dieseits und jenseits der 
deutschen Grenze: Gesprache im Herbst (On This 
Side and the Other Side of the German Border: 
Conversations in Autumn), by Lew Hohmann and 
Joachim Tschimer. offered insights into social 
phenomena parallel to those Siiske documents. 
The festival screening of sections from this work- 
in-progress featured lengthy interviews w ith three 
groups of people: dissident members of the So- 
cialist Unity Party (the East German Commu- 
nists ) who describe harassment at a party congress 
convened the day after the opening of the wall, a 
couple who were arrested during the Berlin dem- 
onstration on October 7 (the culmination of the 
events Siiske recorded), and an East German 
family living in a temporary camp for displaced 
emigrants in the West. Although Hohmann and 
Tschirner's plans for their longer work, also shot 
in video 8. would have been informative, the time 
allotted for questions concerning these varying 
works was largely taken up by a debate between 
Siiske and the Elf 99 representatives. 

The exchange was nonetheless provocative. 
pitting a passionate independent against dedi- 
cated television producers. At first Siiske took 
issue w ith the ironic stance conveyed in the Wand- 
litz report, cautioning that Elf 99 shouldn't be seen 
as the East German avant garde since they ignore 
the underground super 8 filmmakers who have 
been responsible for making the only unofficial 
media in the country. But a representative of this 
contingent in the audience, a super 8 filmmaker 
from Dresden, came to the defense of Elf 99. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



stating that they managed to make and circulate 
critical work which was beyond his and his col- 
leagues' means. And Beck responded by arguing 
for reform of the institution from within, "because 
the institutions will carry on." Unplacated, Siiske 
retorted that television remains closed to inde- 
pendents, whose activities are still criminalized 
(referring to laws prohibiting any independent 
film- or videomaking other than officially sanc- 
tioned amateur production), while controlling the 
means of production. Eventually, however, the 
conversation shifted to less contentious ground, 
where a series of commentators voiced their 
worries about the problems faced by both televi- 
sion producers and independents documenting a 
revolution. Hohmann summed up the position of 
a seasoned producer used to working on extended 
projects: "Documentary filmmakers aren't sure 
what direction to take. Changes are happening so 
fast, and there's so much to do. It's like cleaning 
up a dump." 

The statement about too rapid transitions, which 
may preclude the formation of democratic con- 
sensus, was a refrain heard everywhere in Ber- 
lin — probably everywhere in both Germanys — 
last February. For a foreigner, though, this eve- 
ning of tapes and talk, occuring early in the 
festival schedule, provided a rare chance to gain 
insights into the East German political dramas 
occupying the world stage. There weren't many 
foreigners present, however. For the most part, 
visiting film festival attendees remained aloof 
from the video festival, which is located some 
distance from other festival theaters. But then, so 
too are two important Forum venues — the Arse- 
nal and the Akademie der Kunste (Academy of 
Art) — which are regarded as central to the main 
event. Moreover, television institutions constitute 
major players in the marketing activities at the 
festival's Cine Center headquarters. Certainly, 
television money enabled the production of many, 
if not most, of the films shown at the festival. No 
matter how intertwined cinema and television 
institutions have become in fact, the cultural di- 
vide between video and film at the Berlin festival 
appeared practically insurmountable. And the 
events that might have bridged the gap — the debate 
about independent documentary production and 
television, for instance — instead fell between the 
cracks. 

Postscript 

The material I gathered at the 1990 Berlin Film 
and Video Festivals is too extensive to summarize 
in one article. A second part, concentrating on 
film exhibition and the experiences of US inde- 
pendent producers, will appear in a subsequent 
issue of The Independent, along with Mark Nash ' s 
reflections on the gay films included in the Pano- 
rama section. Karen Rosenberg is also preparing 
an article on a special program of GDR films that 
were banned in the mid-sixties and recently rere- 
leased, screened in the Forum section. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 13 




THE FILMMAKERS' CHOICE 
Black Directors Lauded at the US Film Festival 



PETER BRODERICK 



The Sundance United States Film Festival, held in 
January in Park City. Utah, has firmly established 
itself as the most important festival for US inde- 
pendent feature filmmakers. Last year it launched 
Steven Soderbergh's Sex. Lies and Videotape, 
which went on to become one of the independent 
success stories of the decade. This year, the festi- 
val heralded the success of a talented group of 
black filmmakers whose films won four of the five 
major awards for features at the festival. 

Inaugurated in 1978 with only six independent 
films, the US Film Festival developed a reputa- 
tion among many independents as their festival. 
Each January a growing number of filmmakers 
journeyed to Park City to participate in an event 
that seemed designed for filmmakers, rather than 
distributors or journalists. In addition to the nuts- 
and-bolts information provided at seminars and 
the chance to see each other's work, the festival 
gave them a sense of a flourishing and supportive 
community of filmmakers. 

Then in 1988. the first major contingent of Hol- 
ly wood agents and executives arrived, looking for 
new talent. Although a little startled by their 
presence, festival organizers appear to have made 
no concessions to them in subsequent years. In 
1989. a major Cassavetes retrospective was pre- 
sented. In 1990. there was a tribute to Melvin Van 
Peebles and programs of films from Colombia 
and Kazakhstan. This year, organizers also in- 
creased the number of experimental features in 
the dramatic competition and added a series of 
advocacy forums culminating in an unprecedented 
town hall meeting. Those who attended over- 
whelmingly adopted a resolution calling on inde- 
pendent film and video organizations to put money 
and energy into a national effort to repeal any 
content restrictions on National Endowment for 
the Arts funding. 

The festival is an excellent place to gauge the 
state of independent feature filmmaking in the 
US. In 1989 Apartment Zero, 84 Charlie Mopic. 
Heathers, Powwow Highway, True Love, as well 
as Sex. Lies, and Videotape suggested that a high 
level of quality had been achieved. This year's 
festival made it clear that independent feature 
filmmaking in the US has entered a new stage, in 
diversity as well as quality. Of the 16 features in 
the dramatic competition, three were directed by 
black men (Wendell Harris Jr. ' s Chameleon Street, 



Reginald Hudlin's House Party, and Charles 
Burnett's To Sleep with Anger), one was directed 
by an Asian American woman (Shirley Sun's 
Iron and Silk), and two others by white women 
(How to Be Louise, by Ann Floumoy. and The 
Kill-Off, by Maggie Greenwald). Last year's 
competition, which was typical of its predeces- 
sors, screened one feature directed by an Asian 
American man (The Laserman, Peter Wang), one 
feature directed by a white woman (True Love, 
Nancy Savoca), and no features by black direc- 
tors. 

The significance of the features by black direc- 
tors at this year's festival was enhanced by their 
number (one or two wouldn't have had the same 
impact), the variety, the quality, and the prizes 
they won. The message seemed clear: indepen- 



Daughter of the Dust, and is developing Wood- 
berry's next feature. In My Father' s House (based 
on a novel by Ernest Gaines). Last year, Charles 
Lane's Sidewalk Stories was invited to Cannes 
and was the opening film at the Independent 
Feature Market in the fall. If these events marked 
a new trend, it went largely unrecognized in the 
mainstream press until the US Film Festival. 
Together Chameleon Street, House Party, and To 
Sleep with Anger sent a signal to the pundits and 
industry executives that black directors can no 
longer be ignored. 

The Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic film 
was won by Chameleon Street, a first feature 
written as well as directed by Harris, who also 
stars in the film. Chameleon Street is based on the 
true story of William Douglas Street, who skill- 




African American directors 
took center stage at this 
year's US Film Festival. A 
top prize went to 
Chameleon Street, by 
Wendell Harris Jr. The film 
tells the true story of 
William Douglas Street, a 
man (played by Harris, 
center) who successfully 
impersonated a lawyer, 
reporter, and surgeon, as 
well as a number of other 
professionals. 

Courtesy Films Around the World 



dent black feature filmmakers have achieved criti- 
cal mass. Hopefully the days are over when tal- 
ented black directors receive little recognition or 
funding, and outstanding black features, e.g., 
Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep and Billy 
Woodberrv's Bless Their Little Hearts, are not in 
distribution in the US. 

In the past few years there had been signs that 
things might be changing, but it was hard to tell 
whether these were just isolated cases. In addition 
to the success of Spike Lee's features, Robert 
Townsend' s Hollywood Shuffle and Keenan Ivory 
Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka overcame 
long odds to reach large audiences. Burnett won 
a "genius grant" from the Mac Arthur Foundation, 
and Woodberry and he received fellow ships from 
the Rockefeller Foundation. American Playhouse 
funded the production of Julie Dash's new feature. 



fully impersonated a lawyer, a reporter, and a 
surgeon (performing 23 successful operations), 
and other professionals, despite his limited educa- 
tion and lack of training. A family affair, the film 
was coproduced by the director's mother and 
brother, who took four years to raise almost S2- 
million from 42 investors. Using irony and satire, 
the film asks viewers to consider the roles many 
blacks are forced to perform in a racist society. 

The dramatic Filmmakers Trophy and the award 
for excellence in cinematography were both won 
by House Party. Written and directed by Hudlin 
and produced by his brother Warrington, this first 
feature is a comedy about the hip-hop culture of 
black teens. Effectively using music and dance, it 
tells the story of a wild night of partying, dancing, 
and romancing in the face of angry gang mem- 
bers, racist cops, and a recalcitrant parent. The 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 




Charles Burnett's widely 
awaited third feature, To 
Sleep with Anger, also 
received accolades at 
Sundance. It tells of the 
disruptive effects the visit of 
an old friend (Danny 
Glover, right) has on a Los 
Angeles family. 

Courtesy TSWA, Inc. 



film grew out of a 20-minute short, also called 
House Party, that Hudlin made as a Harvard 
undergraduate, which won him a New England 
regional student Academy Award. New Line fi- 
nanced the $2.5-million feature version, made 
with a 65 percent black crew. 

A Special Jury Award was given to Burnett's 
To Sleep with Anger, a film depicting the disrup- 
tion caused by an old friend from the South who 
pays a visit to a middle-class black family in Los 
Angeles. Played by Danny Glover, the central 
character is a charmer, storyteller, and trickster, 
who exacerbates all of the conflicts and divisions 
among members of three generations of the fam- 
ily. Burnett's third feature, the film was produced 
by Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation with 
funding from Sony Video Software. 

Although these three films are very different, 
they do have several significant things in com- 
mon. They all grow out of very specific realities. 
Chameleon Street is a dramatized biography, and 
the other two incorporate their writers' experi- 
ences. Each of the writers uses specific details of 
dress, language, behavior, and setting to create a 
sense of verisimilitude. And in each case the 
writer was able to convey his personal vision as 
director. The authenticity of the films is enhanced 
by ensemble acting, which is used extensively and 
very effectively in House Party and To Sleep with 
Anger. 

Another thing the films have in common is 
their approach to social and political issues. These 
are not handled didactically but are woven into the 
fabric of each film. A good example is House 
Party's treatment of teenage social and sexual 
responsibility. Despite their desire and the oppor- 
tunity of being alone in the house, the boy and girl 
leads decide not to make love because they don't 
have any birth control. (However, some people 
that have suggested that the jail scene is homopho- 
bic and criticized the film for including language 
considered sexist.) Yet another similarity is that 
all central characters are black in these films. In 
House Party, the only whites who appear in more 
than one scene are two racist cops who ultimately 
get their just desserts. In To Sleep with Anger, 
whites have virtually no presence. Mainstream 
Hollywood movies often tell stories using formu- 



laic action, generic characters, and locations that 
serve merely as photogenic backdrops. Black 
filmmakers have gained momentum by doing the 
opposite — presenting stories and characters inte- 
gral to black culture. 

There were many other films at the festival that 
received a strong response. The other prizewin- 
ning feature was Longtime Companion, which 
dramatizes the impact of AIDS on an interrelated 
group of gay men in New York City. Directed by 
Norman Rene and produced for American Play- 
house, the film won the Audience Award. Mi- 
chael Roemer's The Plot Against Harry and Hal 
Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth were very en- 
thusiastically received. Whit Stillman's Metro- 
politan, Sun's Iron and Silk, and Kurt Voss' The 
Horseplayer also received good receptions. 

While opinion was divided on the overall quality 
of this year's features, there was general agree- 
ment that this was one of the strongest documen- 
tary selections. The award for best documentary 
was shared by H-2 Worker, Stephanie Black's 
film on the treatment of Jamaican migrant work- 
ers brought to Florida every year to harvest sugar 
cane, and Water and Power, Pat O'Neill's innova- 
tive account of the devastation of California's 
Owen Valley by the Department of Water and 
Power. The documentary jury gave its Special 
Recognition prize to Samsara: Death and Rebirth 
in Cambodia, a vivid portrait of postwar Cambo- 
dia by Ellen Bruno. The documentary winner of 
the Filmmakers Trophy was Metamorphosis: Man 
into Woman, Lisa Leeman's film about the proc- 
ess of transsexual transformation. The documen- 
tary Audience Award went to Berkeley in the 
Sixties, Mark Kitchell's overview of the capital of 
student unrest in its heyday. 

Given all of the current problems with the 
funding and distribution of independent features 
and documentaries, the strength and diversity of 
the films at this year's festival were especially 
remarkable. If independents are managing to 
prevail in the face of these serious obstacles, 
maybe they really are indomitable after all. 

Peter Broderick is an independent film producer 
based in Santa Monica and a board member of the 
Independent Feature Project/West. 



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MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



LEGAL BRIEF 



CALLING THE SHOTS 

Contractual Agreements between Producers and Directors 



MARCJACOBSON 



Editor \ note : This article is presented only for the 
purposes of educating independent film- and 
videomakers and is not to be taken as financial or 
legal advice. 

Film is often considered a director's medium, 
although it is certainly a collaborative effort. This 
may be because a director has the right to deter- 
mine whether a particular take on a scene is 
adequate. He or she can order retakes until satis- 
fied and is responsible for set decoration, music. 
and all other creative aspects of the film. The 
Director's Agreement, therefore, is an extremely 
important document in the documentation con- 
nected with the production of a dramatic motion 
picture. This article will discuss the key terms of 
a Director's Agreement. 



in place, then that corporation will be the em- 
ployer of record for the individual director. Issues 
arise if an accident occurs on the set, whether the 
individual director, or his or her loan-out corpora- 
tion, or the producing entity, or the financing 
entity may be liable to the injured. This is typi- 
cally resolved through the purchase of insurance 
by the producer, naming the director and the loan- 
out corporation as additional named insureds. 
Similar considerations exist for determining un- 
ion mandated pension and welfare (P&W) contri- 
butions on the director's salary. 

Term 

Unlike agreements for actors in a film, which 
typically provide for a rehearsal period, a period 
for principal photography, and a certain number 
of free or looping days and travel days, the term of 
a director's contract is open-ended. A commence- 
ment date for preproduction services and for prin- 
cipal photography is common. The director usu- 



oince the average budget on a studio financed 
picture is currently reported to be in excess of 
$16-million, the producer will seek to shift 
responsibility for exceeding the budget to the 
director This is especially true of independently 
financed films. 



Parties 

The producer, frequently a corporation, is gener- 
ally the director's employer. Frequently, how- 
ever, especially on non-studio financed films, the 
producer is a new corporation, formed solely for 
the purpose of producing a particular film. Thus. 
financial security for payment may be an issue for 
the director. Security may be obtained by provid- 
ing that a director's salary be placed in escrow, 
typically with the lending institution which is 
financing the production, with specific provisions 
regarding disbursement of funds. 

The director will frequently work through his 
or her own personal services corporation, or loan- 
out corporation. If there is a loan-out corporation 



ally commits to remain with the film until postpro- 
duction services are completed. During the time 
that the director's services are required, he or she 
will be expected to be on call at all times. It is 
extremely rare for "stop" dates to be included in 
an actor's agreement, and the same is true for a 
director. 

Compensation 

The Directors Guild of America's (DGA) basic 
agreement sets out the minimum amount payable 
to directors for their services, provided such di- 
rectors are members of the DGA. These mini- 
mums depend on whether the production is in- 
tended primarily for theatrical, television, or home 



video exploitation. Remuneration is also affected 
by the budget for the picture; for example, in the 
case of theatrical motion pictures the DGA mini- 
mum salaries are as follows: 

i) low budget (any picture budgeted up to 

$500,000) $4,833 per week, 

ii) medium budget (any picture budgeted over 

$500,000 and up to $1.5-million) $5,493 per 

week, 

iii) high budget (all pictures budgeted over 

$1.5-million) $7,690 per week. 

Clearly, an experienced or successful director 
will be able to negotiate higher salaries than those 
outlined above. Further, salaries need not be cal- 
culated on a weekly basis. Many directors are paid 
on a lump sum basis with the payment being split, 
part payable on signature, part on commencement 
of principal photography, and part on completion 
of the director's services. 

Depending on the director's negotiating 
strength, the agreement will provide that the pro- 
ducer will be reimbursed for P&W contributions 
actually made, which may be based upon an 
amount less than the sums paid to the loan-out 
corporation. For example, a director's loan corpo- 
ration may receive $100,000 for the director's 
services, but may actually pay the director a salary 
of $75,000. The director might pay P&W based on 
a $75,000 salary and seek reimbursement for that 
amount. The balance of $25,000 may be used to 
fund a director's personal pension plan. The pro- 
ducer might pay such contributions on the direc- 
tor's behalf directly, based either on the actual 
salary or on the gross compensation. Of course, 
the director may have an additional pension or 
profit sharing plans established through his loan- 
out corporation; contributions to those plans are 
determined by the director and his professional 
advisers. 

Penalty. Directors have great latitude in the 
manner in which they complete a film. Since the 
average budget on a studio financed picture is 
currently reported to be in excess of $16-million, 
the producer will seek to shift responsibility for 
exceeding the budget to the director. This is espe- 
cially true of independently financed films, al- 
though the budget for such films may be signifi- 
cantly lower. Failure to complete the film on time 
or on budget may result in financial penalties to 
the director. For example, if the director's agree- 
ment provides for a series of lump sum payments, 
the final payment may only be made if the film is 
completed on time, on budget, or both. Failure to 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



do either may cause a forfeiture of all or part of this 
final payment. 

Alternatively, if the director is participating in 
profits, the difference between the actual cost and 
the budgeted cost of the film may be included in 
the costs to be recouped (as to the director) prior 
to profits being paid to the director. This may be 
calculated on an actual cost basis or on a so-called 
"double add back" basis. The "double add back" 
provides that the excess cost over budget will be 
doubled and then added to recoupable costs be- 
fore calculating the director's profit participation. 

Profit Participation 

In addition to a basic salary, a director may fre- 
quently obtain a participation in profits derived 
from the picture. The percentage of this participa- 
tion and whether the participation is in gross or net 
profits is also a matter of negotiation between the 
production company and the director. Generally 
most directors who participate in profits partici- 
pate in net profits, which may generally be de- 
fined as film rentals and other receipts from ex- 
ploitation of the picture (video, foreign, cable, and 
broadcast television) less distribution fees, less 
marketing costs, and less the cost of production. A 
participant in gross profits doesn't participate in 
the box office receipts but rather in film rentals, 
often on the same basis as the distributor. 

What is less open to negotiation is the contrac- 
tual definition of net profits. Production compa- 
nies, particularly the major studios, are rather 
rigid about net profit definitions and are most 
unwilling to consider anything other than minor, 
or cosmetic, alterations to the language. Often, the 
multi-page definition offered is one of two poten- 
tial forms of definition, and the choice is simply 
which of the two definitions the director prefers. 
In particular, profits will always be calculated on 
monies actually received, distribution fees will be 
taken of up to 45 percent of distributor's receipts 
(in certain territories and media), the budget for 
the film may be treated as an investment and 
subject to interest at rates of up to two percent 
above normal bank rates, and a factor for studio 
overhead calculated as a percentage of the film's 
negative cost may also be added. Therefore, while 
participation in net profits may appear very attrac- 
tive to a director, the costs of production, prints, 
advertising, and distribution may mean the direc- 
tor's share of net profits are unlikely to be mean- 
ingful unless the picture is an enormous success. 
Further, a profit participation will generally be 
expressed to be inclusive of residuals (if any) 
payable to the director, under the DGA agree- 
ment. 

Exclusivity 

The producer will require the director's services 
to be exclusive, at least during the period of 
preproduction and production. In rare events, 
postproduction services may be on a nonexclu- 
sive but first call basis. However, where the par- 
ties are experienced, each will want to provide for 
exclusivity throughout the entire period, so as to 



expedite completion of the film and delivery of 
the answer print. 

Final Cut 

Under the 1987 DGA agreement all directors are 
entitled to at least one cut of the film, referred to 
in the DGA agreement as the "Director's Cut." 
The director has the right to make this cut without 
interference, although this cut is subject to speci- 
fied time constraints. For example, if the film is 
budgeted for $500,000 or less, the director's cut 
must be completed within the greater of six weeks 
from the end of principal photography or a period 
of time calculated on the basis of one day's edit 
time to one day's principal photography (as origi- 
nally scheduled). Where the budget is more than 
$500,000, the time restrictions are less stringent. 

A director may be able to negotiate additional 
cuts, as well as "public previews" of his or her 
film. Public previews are exhibitions of the film at 
special screenings to a limited group of people in 
order to gauge audience reaction to the picture, 
which may form a basis for additional editing, or 
even in rare instances, additional photography. 

Of course the most important cut is the final 
cut — the cut that will ultimately be distributed. 
The studio or the independent producer will often 
want to have the option to have the final cut done 
by someone other than the director, so that, for 
example, a fresh look may be given to the film and 
a new insight brought to it. Sometimes an actor 
will be able to secure approval over the final cut, 
resulting in a very different collaborative effort. 
However, a director is entitled to consultation 
rights regarding the final cut, as is provided in the 
DGA agreement. 

On independently financed films, the lines 
between producer and director are often blurred. 
However, if the lines are clear, the director and 
producer will negotiate without any restrictions of 
the DGA agreement, and they may secure a very 
different agreement. The same principles will 
apply, however. The producer will want the sound- 
track to be synchronized with the visual aspects; 
if a rating is sought, it must be one to which the 
parties agree; the film may have to meet censor- 
ship requirements in foreign countries, all of which 
are ostensibly in the director's control. Every 
issue which is important to either the director or 
the producer should be considered, discussed, 
agreed upon, and incorporated into the agree- 
ment. That effort early in the production may later 
save the film and will certainly avoid aggravation 
and possibly very large legal bills. 

The assistance of David St. J. White, an English barrister, 
in the preparation of this article is gratefully 
acknowledged. 

Marc Jacobson is counsel to Carro, Spanbock, 
Kaster & Cuiffo, in New York, and is chair of the 
New York State Bar Association Section on Enter- 
tainment, Arts & Sports Law. 

© 1990 Marc Jacobson. 



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MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



IN FOCUS 



WHAT THE MANUAL DIDNT TELL YOU 

Pandora's Boxes I: Digital Video 

i 



RICK FEIST 



Figure 1 
An A/D converter 
samples and quantizes 
(measures) the analog 
signal., and the 
quantized values are 
stored in memory as 
binary numbers. Eight- 
bit resolution, for 
example, means that 
256 shades of video can 
be quantized or 
measured. 



VOLTAGE 
140 - 
120 - 
100 - 



20 



-25 

-40 
Time 



Editor's note: This article is fifth in a series, writ- 
ten by staff members of the Standby Program, a 
nonprofit video access and education program 
dedicated to providing artists and independent 
producers with sophisticated video serxices they 
can afford. Standby's technicians are artists them- 
selves and therefore offer vital understanding 
and sympathetic collaboration. Since 1983, works 
made possible by Standby have been broadcast 
on the Public Broadcasting Service, as well as 
European and Japanese television, and have been 
exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. 
The information presented here and in future 
articles should help you make appropriate tech- 
nical decisions to suit your aesthetic and budget- 
ary needs. 

The first four chapters of this editing guide 
reviewed video recording formats, time code, off- 
line editing, and switchers. This article examines 
time base correctors and other digital video de- 
vices used in postproduction. 



QUANTIZER 

LEVEL 
(binary number) 




Analog video is a continuous electronic signal 
that fluctuates with the brightness and color of the 
video signal. Most video is still recorded and 
played by using analog signals. But if you' ve ever 
used a time base corrector, a character generator, 
or computer graphics, you have used digital video. 
Digital video refers to a method of representing 
the analog video signal as a series of binary num- 
bers. In the space of a second, 1 6 million samples 
are made. 

Why convert an analog video signal to digital 



and then back to analog? A time base corrector 
does this to stabilize a video signal. Errors in 
timing are an inevitable result of the mechanics of 
video recording. The smallest difference in manu- 
facture, friction, abrasion, and even temperature 
affect the mechanical parts of a VTR, especially 
those parts that touch the videotape. The speed of 
both recording and playback varies. Even one- 
inch video machines require a time base corrector 
to compensate for these errors. Copying video 
without a TBC adds time base errors to those 
already recorded on the original tape. Home video 
formats are the most susceptible. 

When the TBC stores the video signal in its 
buffer, time base errors can be corrected. A buffer 
is simply computer memory. In a time base cor- 
rector, the buffer is also called a window. The A/ 
D converter writes the samples of video arriving 
off-tape into the buffer. The D/A converter reads 
the video from this memory at the corrected speed. 
Imagine the VTR as a picture factory and the 

. TBC as a warehouse at 

the end of the assembly 
line. The warehouse 
must always have the 
correct supply on hand. 
If the production line in 
the factory speeds up, the 
warehouse fills up. The 
factory must slow down 
before the warehouse 
overflows. When the 
factory slows down too 
much, the warehouse 
empties out. The factory 
must speed up before the 
supply is depleted. 

The TBC is constantly 
signalling the VTR to 
speed up or slow down, 
attempting to keep the 
buffer exactly half full. 
If a TBC has a window 
of eight lines, its memory can hold eight lines of 
digitized video (from the 525 line raster). A better 
TBC with a 16 line window can store more video 
and compensate for larger time base errors. When 
the error of the videotape playback exceeds the 
window (buffer empties or overflows), the image 
will visibly hop. 

The TBC also replaces the sync pulses that 
drive the video on a monitor or television set 
(normally not visible unless you fiddle with the 
horizontal or vertical hold knobs). Sync pulses 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 







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have standard voltage values and frequencies that 
can be regenerated in place of the degraded signal 
that comes off the videotape. 

In a production studio or A/B roll editing sys- 
tem, video sources are mixed in a switcher. In 
order to do this, their signals must be aligned with 
a common "sync" reference. A sync generator 
provides this reference to the TBC. The TBC, in 
turn, controls the speed of the VTR playback to be 
just in advance of the sync (a TBC with a 16 line 
window will try to keep the video eight lines 
advanced). The digital video in the buffer is con- 
verted back to analog video at the rate determined 
by the external sync signal. Without a TBC, a 
VTR cannot be synchronized accurately enough 
to play through a switcher. 

The TBC controls the speed of the VTR by 
controlling its capstan, the metal roller that pulls 
the tape through the machine. Not all VTRs allow 
for such a connection from a TBC; they operate 
only with their own internal sync reference. Home 
grade VCR machines rarely allow for external 
sync. To lock such a free-running signal requires 
a frame store. A frame store is a TBC with a 
window of 525 lines, which is a full frame of 
video. 

The frame store resynchronizes video running 
on its own sync by leaving out a field (when the 
machine plays fast and the buffer fills up) or re- 
peating a field (when the machine plays slow and 
the buffer empties out). Hence the frame store's 
alias, frame synchronizer. It can even align sat- 
ellite signals from other parts of the world (where 
it is not feasible to run a sync cable). A buffer that 
stores an entire frame of video brings another 
advantage. It is possible to create a freeze frame. 
Instead of reloading the buffer as the video moves, 
one frame can be repeated continuously. 

The buffer stores a frame of the image as a 
series of numbers. Inevitably, someone realized 
that it would be possible to manipulate these 
numbers to change what came out of the frame 
synchronizer. The first digital video effect (DVE) 
took place. Mathematical formulae applied to the 
picture numbers changed picture size, aspect, 
texture, and shape. 

The various digital systems in use are fre- 
quently incompatible with one another. Ongoing 
technological developments have prevented stan- 
dardization. Consider the different ways that the 
video can be sampled. Eight-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, 
and now 64-bit designations refer to the measure- 
ment range of the sample — the more bits, the 
greater the range of contrasts and colors. The 



Figure 2 

higher the sampling rate, the greater the resolu- 
tion. Broadcast devices make more than 14 mil- 
lion samples in a second (designation 4fsc). This 
is four times the highest frequency of the video 
signal, the 3.59 mhz subcarrier frequency. 

Digital video also comes in different formats. 
Composite digital sampling quantizes the whole 
signal, luminance and chrominance, in one sample. 
A TBC, framestore, or digital effects device works 
with composite video. Digital R-G-B (red, green, 
and blue values stored as separate binary num- 
bers) also represents the video digitally. Home 
computers and character generators use this 
method. Component digital signals take one 
sample of the luminance, plus two additional 
(smaller) samples of two colorprimaries (the third 
is interpolated). Component digital offers the most 
efficient encoding with the highest picture resolu- 
tion. 

Incompatibility requires conversion to analog 
between digital machines. This causes the video 
signal to deteriorate. Digital videotape machines 
offer the advantage of direct transfer of digital 
data, with little generation loss. On the horizon are 
a new breed of devices called transcoders. These 
machines will function as the translators of the 
digital Babel, transforming one digital format to 
another. But something will always be lost in 
translation. 

Rick Feist is an on-line editor and a member of the 
Standby Program. 

© 1990 The Standby Program 



□ 



□ 



Figure 3 

Pixels are the points along the raster scan where 
the individual quantized values are held. Video 
painting is the manipulation of individual pixels in 
a frame buffer. 



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MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



BOOK REVIEW 



CORPORATE TAKEOVERS OF CULTURAL INDUSTRIES 
A Review of Herbert I. Schiller's Latest Book 



NANCY GRAHAM 



CULTURE 

Inc. 




THE CORPORATE 



TAKEOVER OF 



PUILIC EXPRESSION 



MI.Rm'.RT 1. SCHILLER 



Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of 

Public Expression 

by Herbert I. Schiller 

New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 

174 pp.. $22 JO (cloth) 

"Exxon's business support of the arts serves as a 
social lubricant. And if business is to continue in 
big cities, it needs a lubricated environment."This 
pointed observation was made not by a critic of 
big business, but by its representative. Robert 
Kingsley. As an Exxon executive and founder/ 
chair of the Arts and Business Council. Kingsley 
is well acquainted with the value of the arts for the 
private sector. 

The above quotation, which appears in Herbert 
Schiller's Culture. Inc., refers to only one of many 
"lubricants" employed by US transnational since 
World War II in their mission to create a friendly, 
global environment for investment. Those lubri- 
cants and the methods by which corporations have 
applied them — often with the aid of the US gov- 
ernment — are Schiller's primary subjects. He 
discusses issues of corporate expression, the 
development of the transnational corporation, the 
marketing of culture, and the ideological climate 
surrounding all of these trends in a comparative, 
subject-based format, rather than within a tightly 
chronological framew ork. The result is a readable 
volume spanning a broad range of topics related to 
the mechanisms of mainstream culture in the 
United States — as well as the ways US corpora- 
tions have influenced other cultures. 

Schiller traces the early history of the corporate 
consolidation of economic and political power by 
focusing on domestic developments that aided 
that process: the forced obsolescence of inde- 
pendent farmers as new agricultural technologies 
were adopted, the arrival of conservative immi- 
grants, the rise of suburbia and postwar prosper- 
ity. Schiller gives special emphasis, however, to 
the control of labor and public political discourse 
enabled by the rhetoric of anticommunism. 

Today. Madison Avenue uses the fall of the 
Berlin wall to sell Pepsi and AT&T products — a 
new kind of lubricant, likely to facilitate the 
corporate penetration of Eastern European econo- 
mies. Images of smiling East German consumers 
now threaten to obscure America's extensive 
anticommunist history. Schiller's review of cor- 
porate expansionism begins in the 1940s, when 
anticommunism. formerly an intermittent factor 
in US labor politics, became a "never-absent 
feature of American life." Legislative measures 



enacted during the postwar period effectively 
eliminated leftist social criticism from mainstream 
public debate. For example, the Taft-Hartley Act 
(1947), which required union officials to sign 
affidavits forswearing Communist Party mem- 
bership, muted critical voices in the labor move- 
ment. Schiller situates the resulting conservative 
shift in labor politics, which "reached its nadir 
when the majority of [union] leaders gave near- 
unqualified endorsement to the U.S. war against 
Vietnam." within the larger framework of public 
debate, bemoaning the loss of such an important 
democratic political force. 

Schiller's depiction of a public policy structure 
permeated by anticommunism during the years 
1945 to the present provides a context for the 
simultaneous growth of the culture industries. 
Schiller adopts the broad definition of "culture 
industry" supplied by the United Nations Scien- 
tific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): "[A] 
cultural industry is held to exist when cultural 
goods and services are produced, reproduced, 
stored or distributed on industrial and commercial 
lines. ..in accordance with a strategy based on 
economic considerations rather than any con- 
cerns for cultural development." Publishing, the 
media, sports, and other information outlets are 
examples of culture industries. Also included are 
vehicles for the display of cultural artifacts — 
from museums and art galleries to amusement 
parks and shopping malls. For Schiller, the distin- 
guishing feature of a culture industry is its re- 
moval of creative activity from the local commu- 
nity in order to commodify it, the process that 
makes possible the Broadway musical, the best- 
selling novel, and the blockbuster film. 

Rather than scrutinizing the workings of these 
particular culture industries. Schiller looks at the 
corporate appropriation of creativity through the 
prism of fundamental issues such as the legal 
history of "corporate free speech," the role of 
information technologies in securing corporate 
dominance of global politics, the big business 
leeching of campus research, and the hostile arro- 
gance displayed by the United States toward the 
international movement for cultural autonomy 
advocated by UNESCO and the nonaligned na- 
tions. 

Schiller also considers culture industries that 
are rarely discussed as such. He points to the 
commercialized public library, which is fast be- 
coming the norm as databases multiply and their 
manufacturers demand user fees. Schiller also 
elaborates the notion of the "public space." whether 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



referring to public broadcasting or the sterile, 
monumental atria created by the builders of cor- 
porate architecture as a "public service." These 
spaces, which could be lively forums for public 
exchange, exist instead to fortify the corporate 
image or market goods. 

In the final third of the book, Schiller examines 
highlights from the history of communications 
theory following World War II, revealing conti- 
nuities with the political and cultural environ- 
ments he has already discussed. Schiller counter- 
poses the "limited effects" model of communica- 
tions theory, which minimizes the sociopolitical 
effects of the media, to the "development commu- 
nication" model, which recognizes the propa- 
ganda value of mass media. 

The champions of the limited effects model, 
led by Paul Lazarsfeld at Columbia University in 
the 1940s, "emphasized the limited effects of the 
media, stressing instead processes of individual 
selectivity, perception, and recall." Elihu Katz, a 
colleague of Lazarsfeld, identified the limited 
effects model as the precursor of "subsequent 
studies that concentrated on what the receiver (the 
audience) either brought to or how it utilized the 
message." Schiller's strong suspicion of such 
studies proceeds from their failure to recognize 
the manipulative power of the media. 

Conservative communications theorists, who 
advocated applications based on the second, 
development communication model following 
World War II, generated arguments extolling the 
power of the media in directing the sociopolitical 
life of excolonial countries. Schiller focuses on 
the work of communications theorist Daniel 
Lemer, who, in formulating a development com- 
munications theory, took his inspiration from 
President Harry S. Truman. In Truman's January 
1949 State of the Union address, he proposed a 
plan of technical and financial assistance to poor 
countries known as the Point IV program. In 
Schiller's view, this "was essentially an anticom- 
munist diatribe that purported to demonstrate the 
disaster that would accompany a nation's deci- 
sion to deviate from a market-directed economy." 
Lerner, taking his cue from Truman, articulated a 
theory that identified information as the control 
mechanism for excolonial nations, supplanting 
the invading army and foreign government. 
Lemer's position was, "The persuasive transmis- 
sion of enlightenment is the modem paradigm of 
international communication." This theory, 
Schiller argues, "dominated the thinking of gov- 
ernment policy — to say nothing of domestic media 
usage — for at least two decades after the war's 
end." Lemer and other theorists associated with 
this theory, including Wilbur Schramm, Ithiel de 
Sola Pool, and Lucien Pye, were thus complicit in 
the process of US expansion. Equally complicit, 
according to Schiller, were the limited-effects 
theorists, who looked the other way while their 
counterparts assisted in the making of a postwar 
global market economy. Dominated by the United 
States, this system's communications wing ac- 
tively discouraged autonomy on the part of ex- 



colonial nations and promoted consumerist ideol- 
ogy in developing nations. 

From here, Schiller launches an assault on 
recent developments in "active-audience" theo- 
ries, linking them to the limited effects model. 
Such theories posit "an audience capable of pro- 
ducing its own meanings and resisting those trans- 
mitted to it that it finds objectionable or irrele- 
vant." Schiller argues that such theories privilege 
the viewer while avoiding the thorny subject of 
mass media propaganda. Among his targets is a 
study by a researcher at the University of Amster- 
dam, Ien Ang, which surveyed viewers of Dallas, 
asking them what they found pleasurable about 
the program. Schiller finds that Ang's research 
privileges "the production of meaning [as] an 
individual act, in which the program/text is not 
more influential than what the viewer/readermakes 
of it. Power is equally distributed between the 
cultural producer and the consumer of the prod- 
uct." 

This equation brings Ang's theoretical posi- 
tion dangerously close to the limited effects model, 
stressing an empowered viewer who uses the 
media for the gratification of psychological, so- 
cial, or political needs that may not be identical 
with the interests of those in power. But what of 
active audience work that recognizes the danger 
in theorizing an empowered viewer to the exclu- 
sion of a manipulative message? Schiller advo- 
cates a theory of communications that concen- 
trates on the political and economic forces gener- 
ated by the message at its source, eschewing, one 
assumes, the large body of contemporary the- 
ory — much of which falls within the realm of 
feminist theory — centered on the viewer. 

This undervaluing of the active audience paral- 
lels Schiller's underemphasis, throughout Cul- 
ture, Inc., of existing popular resistance to corpo- 
rate culture. If a key objective of his book is to 
offer "a few clues for future action," it may have 
been more inspiring if Schiller's view of the world 
had more prominently featured the work of citi- 
zens ' groups, scholars, and activists who are strug- 
gling against the corporatization of culture. Their 
labors serve the function of causing ruptures in the 
seamless fabric of the cultural economy, provid- 
ing clues of their own for future action. 

Nevertheless, Culture, Inc. offers an acces- 
sible, insightful overview of the means by which 
our corporate and government leaders have gradu- 
ally diminished and deadened the political spec- 
trum of political debate and obscured the diversity 
of culture — both in the US and abroad. In ex- 
change for maintaining its stance as a dominant 
global power, the US is attempting to retire the 
notion of participatory democracy while encour- 
aging ideological homogeneity. Culture, Inc., both 
a portrait of privatized culture and a call to reclaim 
space for public expression, is a sober harbinger in 
these days of rapid global change. 

Nancy Graham is the executive director of the 
Collective for Living Cinema and an advisor to 
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. 




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MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



TALKING HEADS 



NORTHERN UGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION 

A Profile of Alaskan Production Company Af finityfilms 



JANICE DRICKEY 



Weather in 

Alaska is 
definitely a 
problem. In 
Valdez, first I got 
volcanoed out, 
then I got 
blizzarded out, 
and then I got 
blizzarded in. And 
if you're paying 
people by the 
day, it can be a 
real strain." 



The first impact upon arrival in the villages was one of 
silence. No cars or street sounds — just children playing, 
dogs barking, an axe hitting wood, and the wind. The 
wind w hipped across the tundra, and constant rain made 
the trek from the plane to the village mud slippery and 
cold. We had no free hands to wipe our faces and 
carrying the equipment served as a meditation vehicle. 
How would we be received? Would the lens get foggy? 
Will the film spot? Will this all come together in the 
editing room? 

—Mary R. Katzke 

Amid the harsh, frozen tundra of the Alaskan 
wilds, a tiny, nonprofit media production com- 
pany battles sub-zero temperatures, sunless win- 
ter months, small town politics, and a scarcity of 
equipment to turn out educational documentaries 
on sexual assault and domestic violence, art films 
on unusual arctic light patterns, and media cam- 
paigns on driving safely in a winter environment. 
Blonde, thirtyish Mary Rosanne Katzke came to 
Alaska in 1979 seeking adventure and a respite 
from studying entertainment law. Instead, Katzke 
fell in love with the land she describes as "exqui- 
sitely beautiful... clean and pure," and stayed to 
found Affinityfilms, dedicated to the notion of a 
nonsexist, violence-free society. 

Katzke, who has a film degree from the Univer- 
sity of Texas at Austin, took a job in Anchorage as 
a media specialist for a rape crisis center, produc- 
ing a 16mm film for crisis center employees to use 
in their outreach work. "We traveled to six loca- 
tions in the state within a month," Katzke recalls, 
"and you have to hire a private small plane to take 
you anywhere that's off the beaten track. There's 
low ceiling, or there's winds, or there's rain, or 
there's too much snow, or there's ice, or there's 
fog. Now this volcano's the new problem, be- 
cause the smoke gets in the engines, and the car- 
bon in the air shorts out the radar." 

She gives a rueful laugh. "There's no such 
thing as dailies in Alaska. We have weeklies. 
There's no lab here. So if you've got a camera 
problem on day one, you don't know about it for 
five days." Despite the difficulties, Katzke's film 
No Word for Rape won awards at film festivals in 
Seattle and Chicago, as well as at the first All- 
Alaska Film Festival. Ten years later, the film is 
still used by crisis center workers throughout the 
state. 

Next, Katzke and Affinityfilms tackled issues 
surrounding the renovation of downtown An- 
chorage in a documentary called Fourth Avenue. 
The region of the film's title served as a cultural 
gathering place for native people from all over 



Alaska. But it was also the city's Skid Row, an 
eyesore bordering the tourist district, and city 
officials wanted it razed. 

"We upset a number of people with that film," 
Katzke reflects. "The native people felt that by 
showing passed-out drunk native people we were 
racist, and we had slandered their culture in some 
way. The city officials felt that we had been 
unduly biased and sympathetic toward the native 
people. And so we got it from both sides, which 
made me think that we must have done a fair job." 
Fourth Avenue was exhibited in the 1985 Hawaii 
International Film Festival, where Katzke got 
feedback from documentarian Frederick Wise- 
man, whose work, Katzke says, has had the great- 
est influence on her own filmmaking style. 

Fourth Avenue was not the only Affinityfilms 
production to get heat from local politicians. "It's 
difficult to be from a small town or a small area — 
Alaska's like a small town — and do something 
that has any controversy in it and not pay for that 




Alaska's harsh climate, which can freeze film as 
readily as flesh, makes for less than ideal 
shooting conditions. Director Mary Katzke (center) 
and crew brave the cold shooting an outdoor 
scene in Crescendo. 

Photo: Rick Vollertsen 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



for a long, long time," Katzke admits candidly, 
adding, "I'm facing the same thing on the Valdez 
film — how far to push?" 

Affinity films' latest project, commissioned by 
the town of Valdez, explores the impact of the 
world's largest oil spill on the town and its people. 
Katzke continues. "How much [do you delve into] 
for the sake of art and a strong film, and how much 
[do you hold back] for the sake of not rocking the 
boat for my home town?" 

In 1985, Affinityfilms tackled its first film 
"just for art's sake." Arctic Light is a study of the 
unique light patterns caused by the slant of the 
sun's rays in Alaska. The three-minute film, 
exhibited in the 1986 Chicago International Film 
Festival, still plays in Alaska's art theaters. Of her 
foray into abstract filmmaking, Katzke comments, 
"I've always maintained that the more artistic the 
presentation of your message, the more engaging 
it will be. Here was a chance to get better at using 
the medium in an artistic way. Taking what we 
learned from that and putting it into our social 
issues films is going to make those films better." 

Affinityfilms subcontracts its staff and crew 
members on a per-project basis. "It's been hard 
for Mary," explains Edith Polk, who works most 
frequently as a sound mixer for Katzke, "because 
people have to support themselves. When she 
does get something, it's hard for them to drop 
whatever they've got going and rush over to work 
on what they'd rather be doing." Polk, who, at 36, 
is one of Alaska's finest 10K runners, began her 
association with Affinityfilms in 1984. After only 
a few months with the company, Katzke offered 
her the chance to produce a film for the Anchorage 
Education Association on sex equity issues in 
high schools. Since producing That's Fair Polk 
has worn the hats of production manager, editorial 
assistant, and, most recently, actress. She con- 
ceded that the arctic environment offers less-than- 
ideal production conditions. 

"If it's really cold," Polk begins, "you have to 
worry about whether the equipment is going to 
work. And then, when it gets real cold and real dry, 
the big problem becomes static electricity. That 
will attract a lot of dust to things. It can cause 
electrical interference. On a tape, if you have a lot 
of static electricity, you can get little blurbs on 
your soundtrack when you're recording." 

The litany continues. "The film can break eas- 
ily when it gets real, real cold. It becomes very 
brittle and it becomes much more delicate than 
you think of it as being. Then, of course, the 
problem is just staying warm. No matter what I've 
got on when it's winter, it's hard for me to stand 
still and be warm." Frostnip (surface skin peeling) 
and frostbite (deeper, more permanent tissue 
damage) frequently plague Alaskan film crews 
working in the elements. "Weather is definitely a 
problem," Katzke concurs. "I just went back last 
week to shoot for a couple days in Valdez. First I 
got volcanoed out, then I got blizzarded out, and 
then I got blizzarded in. And if you're paying 
people by the day, it can be a real strain." 




Alaska-based 
Affinityfilms tackles the 
subject of domestic 
violence in Crescendo. 
Here, Haley (PJ. Gentry) 
tries to help Vickie 
(Ramona Rolle-Bergj on 
the morning after her 
attack. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Another drawback is scarcity of equipment. "If 
we want a crane dolly or we want two lighting 
trucks, we're in trouble because it's not there," 
Katzke states flatly. "That's one of the things that 
I plan to work on — trying to convince the state 
that it's worth investing in an equipment house. 
Because that's what's stopped a lot of companies 
from coming up here and producing. They say, 
'We're going to need six lighting trucks,' and we 
have to cough and say, 'Well, we've got one....'" 

To keep up with filmmaking advances in the 
rest of the world, Affinityfilms sponsors work- 
shops led by renowned artists and technicians like 
filmmaker John Sayles, cinematographer Dyanna 
Taylor, and National Geographic' s location sound 
recording expert Chat Gunter. "We've been able 
to bring in some exceptional talent to teach us and 
guide us for the cost of an air fare or a very small 
fee," Katzke reveals proudly. As an incentive, 
Katzke offers Alaskan pleasure packages. "We 
took John Sayles on a fly-in fishing trip and sent 
him up in a sight-seeing airplane," she explains. 
"We gain so much, because we're so isolated 
here." 

To fund Affinityfilms between projects, Katzke 
started Montage Media Legal Video Services. 
Montage handles taped depositions and day-in- 
the-life videos tracking the activities of accident 
victims whose lives have been altered by their 
injuries. But, like most independents, Affinityfilms 
relies chiefly upon corporate assistance, matching 
grants, state funding, and equipment donations, 
such as the Nagra donated by Standard Oil of 
Alaska. Katzke also receives assistance from the 
Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska-corn (a com- 
munications company), and the Joint Foundation 
Support Group out of New York. Still, she com- 
ments, "I get tired of running around with a tin 
cup. It's exhausting. I've been doing it for 10 
years now. Going around, asking for money, and 
playing poor." 



Katzke 's desire to learn more about the financ- 
ing and technology of filmmaking forced her to 
make a difficult choice. In 1988, she left the wilds 
of Alaska for the concrete jungles of Manhattan, 
where she enrolled in the graduate film program at 
New York University's Tisch School for the Arts. 
[Jan Lindsey, a six-year Affinityfilms veteran, 
runs both companies in Katzke's absence.] Even 
with a dozen film and video projects under her 
belt, Katzke admits she "didn't even know the 
difference between an assistant director and a 
production manager. I didn't know how to work 
with a big team. I didn't know about negative 
pick-up deals and packaging. So I've been learn- 
ing all that while I'm here." 

"It's such a major change," she confesses. "I 
have a huge garden in Alaska, and a dog and lambs 
and a wood stove. . .a very organic, basic lifestyle. 
In New York, I pay more for rent in one month 
than I did in Alaska for a year." But, Katzke says, 
she will miss the stimulation of working with "58 
really talented people" when she leaves NYU. But 
upon graduation in the spring or summer of 1991 , 
it's back to the cold North. "There's a romance 
involved in being that far from civilization," she 
observes thoughtfully. "I'm really committed to 
being there and want to go back with my skills and 
do feature filmmaking, if I can." Upon her return, 
she plans to direct Dance of the Hunter, a story of 
an actual serial killer and his victims: 21 women 
who had come to Alaska to be dancers. 

"I feel a strong amount of support from the 
community," Katzke continues. "I feel like they're 
behind me. They want me to go out and do this. 
They want me to come back and use those skills." 
And, she insists, "There are certainly a ton of 
stories up there that haven't been told." 

Janice Drickey is a freelance writer covering 
theater, film, and television in Los Angeles. 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FOR AN IMPU 



■ 




ERNEST IARSEN 



Yvonne Rainer's Privilege includes a naturalistic scene with Carlos 

(Ricki Elias, left) hanging out on the stoop with buddy Stew 

(Tyrone Wilson). Elsewhere in the film, however, Carlos appears 

out of character and in a more stylized context, delivering 

speeches lifted from the texts of Franrz Fanon and Piri Thomas. 



Among the incongruous characters in Rainer's Privilege is Digna 

(Gabriela Farrar), pronounced schizophrenic by psychiatric 

professionals, here offering a lucid commentary on the romance 

developing in the front seat between assistant district attorney 

Robert (played by Dan Berkey) and Jenny (Alice Spivak). 

Photos: Vivian Selbo 



Author's note: Thisarticle is based on a talk given by Sherry Millner at the 
New York Media Alliance conference in December 1 989. It is the extensively 
rewritten product of subsequent discussion with her. 



R E 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



RECURRENT IN THE HISTORIES OF BOTH FILM AND VIDEO ARE THOSE SHINING 

but all-too-precipitate moments in which searches for the distinctive inher- 
ent properties of the medium predominate. These are passionate searches, 
clear-the-decks, not to say elitist, moments. Suddenly, all the really serious 
filmmakers, all the most spiritually driven videomakers are hot on the trail 
of pure cinema or pure video. These elusive essences are more difficult to 
capture than a subatomic particle, however. Undaunted, self-anointed 
trailblazers blast off where they suppose no one has dared go before them. 
Those who fail to fall for the allure of art for art's sake are left behind, 
scorched by the afterburner. 

We probably have to put up with these secular saints, these seekers after 
the sublime and the transcendent. It may not be their fault. Maybe their 
overly rowdy fathers cracked their tiny skulls on the ceiling during infant 
horseplay — something shook loose in the brainpan and never snapped back 
in later. Or maybe they simply dove head first out of the crib one night. As 
a result, they grew up harebrained, believing in that hilariously datedfin-de- 
siecle religion of aesthetic beauty. It's time, I believe, to take Kant out of the 
nursery. 

Maybe purists, as they dive-bomb into the outer limits of perception — 
think of Brakhage — instead of onto the hardwood floor, serve a useful 
function as researchers, though I have my doubts. In any case it's not so 
much their practice to which I object as their customary reliance on a 
spiritual vocabulary appropriate to the perpetual adolescent, who shores up 
a fragile identity with the leaden abstractions of eternal truths. The periodic 
raising of the standard of purity is in effect disciplinary and exclusionist. 
Otherwise, purist art, which is to say formal art, could safely be left to stew 
forever in the thin broth of its own essence. All acts of definition are, by 
definition, exclusionist. Suddenly the canon is reloaded. To exalt what you 
suppose to be truly beautiful, truly characteristic, to gather it lovingly to 
your bosom (the center), is also to condemn to perdition (the margin) the 
unbeautiful, the uncharacteristic. Formalism is particularly fond of this task 
of ritual purification, by which the holy become the holier-than-thou. 

Suppose, however, we abandon this search for pure film and pure video, 
along with the onerous housekeeping it appears to require. Suppose we kiss 
off the formal equivalents of washing and scrubbing and isolating and 
disinfecting. Why not keep both the baby and the bath water? Instead of 
indulging in dirt avoidance behavior (with its attendant implications of 
neurotic symptomatology, repetition compulsion, etc.), we could embrace 
the potential for an anti-spiritual search for impurity. 

Twenty years ago Julio Garcia Espinosa made an impassioned argument 
for the revolutionary movement "toward an imperfect cinema," while 
arguing against the temptation of technical and artistic mastery: "Imperfect 
cinema finds a new audience in those who struggle, and it finds its themes 

MAY 1990 



RE CINEVIDEO 



in their problems. For imperfect cinema, 'lucid' people are the ones who 
think and feel and exist in a world which they can change." The time may 
be ripe to make a similar case for an impure cinema/video, a cinevideo, in 
which, as a first requirement, the resources of both media coalesce. What, 
in fact, are the implications of this crossfertilization of film and video? Has 
it produced healthier, if not better looking, offspring? Does the transgres- 
sion of the avant-garde norm of purity mean anything more than another 
twist in the history of film/video aesthetics? I think it might if the impure 
move to cinevideo is not only rooted in the dirt but stays there, instead of 
reaching up to the sun. Then we would have something more than an 
aesthetic flourish to talk about. The urge to mix it up becomes no longer just 
a convenience (as it often is in videos that appropriate mainstream film 
footage) or a necessity (as the use of video in film can be when the budget 
is low) but a program. 

A pure art is pretty much forced to turn its back on the world, because the 
world as we know it is imperfect, is, in fact, a mess. In contrast, an impure 
art digs right into the dirt of the world. It revels in imperfection, in the mess, 
in the existing contradictions. This is how it stays close to its audience and 
how it remains conscious of and responsive to their needs and desires. 
Instead of the holy unchanging truths of human perception in all their 
supposed beauty, we are blessed by the unholy moment and the sedimented 
evidence of struggle in all its awkwardness, in all its intransigent resistance 
to the seductive purity of mythic patterning. The site of the struggle is, of 
course, the quotidian. There we find the jagged edges, the rough surfaces, 
the unclassifiable smells, the apparent babel of voices. Certainty and 
universality escape the everyday. What is that we are hearing, seeing, 
smelling, touching — labor, love, fear, or risk? We're not sure — but it's 
exhilirating. The formalist, on the other hand, could only be grateful that 
from the heights of the empyrean it's virtually impossible to look into the 
abyss. With the extravagant claims it customarily makes to be building new 
cathedrals in the suburbs of paradise, formalist film and video lends itself 
quite readily to ministers willing and able to propagate the faith. Many 
uncloistered clerks of criticism and not so few diocesan offices of the 
foundations and museums confer the more than honorific marks of saint- 
hood on well-behaved formalists. The rest of us, an undisciplined rabble, 
accept the crumbs that fall from the altar. But we grumble ungratefully. 

In her book Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas refers to 
dirt as "matter out of place." It is this notion that I intend to root around in, 
like a hog in mud, in order to develop what I mean by an impure cinevideo. 
I have many films and videos in mind that seem to me bracingly mired in the 
conceptual filth of the world, but I will limit my examples to just a few. (For 
some sensitive souls it's a quick leap from mire to ire.) The impure cine- 
video finds its subject matter in matter out of place. It looks to what has been 
hidden, repressed, neglected, pushed out of the common line of sight, 
despised, distrusted, alienated. It considers these places as sources of energy 
and it pursues multiple, and sometimes contradictory, lines of approach to 
this matter. It doesn 't assume you can just walk right up to the stuff and move 
it back where it belongs — it doesn't assume it necessarily belongs any- 
where. The point about dirt, as the momentary residue of a struggle or series 
of struggles, mixed together, perhaps inextricably, perhaps irretrievably, is 
that it has a history. Matter is to some degree changed by being out of place. 
The impure cinevideo takes the extraordinary complexity attaching itself to 

MAY 1990 



all matter matter of factly and assumes with pleasure that there is no 
unproblematic totalizing approach to it. 

The use of multiple image registers within the same cinevideo — black 
and white Hollywood film, rephotographed TV shows, super 8, Fisher Price 
toy video, etc. — calls deliberate attention to the acts of signification in- 
volved in impure art-making. These jumps from one register to another 
might be said to carry much of the liberating effect that, for example, the 
jump cuts in Breathless had when that film appeared. But these shifts in 
register are potentially more disturbing and more involving than the 
discontinuous edit. They are used less to deracinate the illusionism of 
seamless editing, while still holding onto the logic of narrative, than to 
uproot and expose to the air the seamlessness of scenic construction. The 
collision of image registers, from a disparate variety of sources, often 
appears to suggest the collision of contradictory discourses. 

In her forthcoming feature Privilege, Yvonne Rainer begins with the 
impure matter of menopause. She structures the film so that partially or 
wholly contradictory discourses begin to collide as the image registers shift 
and complicate. I can only begin to indicate them here. Segments of 
informal video 8 interviews with women talking about their experience of 
menopause and aging, fragments from an old black and white 16mm 
educational film on menopause, titles and intertitles shot off a Macintosh 
screen, a nonrealist recreation of a Helen Caldicott speech, a staged inter- 
view that transforms itself into a memory and then into a narrative, which 
itself becomes a film which is deconstructed as the narrative progresses. The 
impurity of these critical strategies, as they appear to multiply, keeps the 
facts and effects of change in women's bodies moving from discourse to 
discourse — to intersect repeatedly but not repetitively with the unequal 
economies of race, gender, and class. In Privilege, the matter has no resting 
place. The refusal of finality, of a singular or unifying mode of representa- 
tion for everyday experience, is crucial to the intransigence of impure 
cinevideo. In addition to the excavation of subject matter, image register, 
and narrative development, characters are constructed as malleable on 
multiple and diverse scales. Incongruities and discontinuities — a character- 
commentator whom no other character sees, a working-class Puerto Rican 
delivering a diatribe lifted word for word from Frantz Fanon — transform the 
process of psychological identification into political critique without there- 
fore jettisoning the question of identity. 

The impurist typically recycles the garbage instead of throwing it out. My 
point is not to salute the filmmaker for her originality — overall the tech- 
nique is original only in its specificity — and this specificity is what makes 
it interesting. A strategy of deliberate opacity sometimes perceptible in 
Rainer's earlier films, with materials wrenched so sharply from their 
context as to render them nearly unrecognizable, is virtually absent in 
Privilege. The effect is not a formalist flourish but a mode of communica- 
tion, a way to link disparate discourses so that neither their difference nor 
their degree of sameness is compromised. Privilege privileges the profes- 
sional standard of image quality only tactically, in the sense that it's a 
cinevideo released as a 16mm film. 

Like an intelligent trash compacter, the impure cinevideo does not 
privilege or separate any one or two elements in its elaboration of a syntax 
of representation. Neither film nor video, but both. Neither fiction nor 
documentary, but both. Neither word nor image, but both. Neither original 

THE INDEPENDENT 25 



images nor appropriated images, but both. The conditions for the nonhomo- 
geni/ed use of these elements necessaril) emerge from the projects them- 
selves, rather than being applied to them. The impurist begins with an 
approach, not an answ er. 

John Gre> son's C//Ma/mmbaIlsall these elements in its exploration of 
the impure territory of washroom sex. including extensive use of surveil- 
lance video. The locale of this exploration, the province of Ontario, is 
careful!) grounded in a wealth of intractably specific detail — names, dates. 




Japanese writer Yukio Mishima (played by David Gonzales) 

assumes a St. Sebastian pose in John Greyson's Urinal. 

Foregoing the suspension of disbelief, Greyson mobilizes his 

analysis of police repression by using look-alike 

impersonators of Sergei Eisenstein, Frida Kahlo, Langston 

Hughes, and other lesbian and gay artists. 

Canadian sculptors Florence Wyle (Keltie Creed) and 

Frances Loring (Pauline Carey) have an early morning chat 

in Greyson's Urinal, a work that effectively ties impure 

cinevideo and "inverted" sexuality. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



places, and statistics. With the stall door swung open, the sociohistory of the 
repression of gay sexuality is recentered. Urinal's highly discontinuous 
narrative functions as a stripped-bare armature for a series of reports, or 
audiovisual essays, on such subjects as the history of the toilet, delivered by 
historical personages whose sexual lives were irrevocably marked by the 
specific character of the repressive forces of their own place and time. In 
sweeping Eisenstein, Mishima. Kahlo, and Hughes (among others) from 
where they are supposed to belong in the history books, Greyson attempts 
to reconstitute the usually unacknowledged absurdity of their everyday- 
ness — not their presumed cultural significance. 

Using actors who just barely pretend to act but who bear definite physical 
resemblance to their historical counterparts. Greyson is able to validate the 
specific demands and visual interest of bodily presence as opposed to the 
high-cultural lure of the Great Names of the Past. That culture is certainly 
alluded to, but it's the bodies that are impersonated — without thereby 
implicating the viewer in the burden of suspension of disbelief. In this sense, 
the shifting character construction of impure cinevideo, in relaxing the 
terms of narrative manipulation, can be seen as a way to allude to presence. 
What is more mundane, more of the moment, more undignified than the 
flush, sweat, and stink of sexual desire? And yet these characters have been 
hurled into the present not to make love, or not only, but to open another 
closed door, to promote the public representation of impurity. One of the 
common Edwardian terms for homosexual was invert, which means, of 
course, to turn upside down. There may be a sort of subterranean linguistic 
confirmation of the link between different fields of impurity here: the field 
of inverted sexuality and the field of impure cinevideo, which almost 
systematically attempts to turn upside down the conventional order and 
perception of social relations. "Purity," says Mary Douglas, "is the enemy 
of change." 

This link also appears to suggest a radical turn toward physicality, the 
sensual order of existence, which formalism, with its inveterate asceticism, 
is incapable of approaching without compromising its general motive of 
abstraction. The body invariably exceeds any attempt to symbolize it. The 
messy fluid unpredictability of physical existence threatens formalism's 
drive toward order. The main operations of formalism are hygienic, which 
helps to explain its dynamic appeal to conservative modernists, none of 
whom have ever been seen with their hands dirty. 

Furthermore, the deliberately rough edges of impure cinevideo, its 
quirky tendency to push toward a concept of motion as physical gesture, 
even toward the gesturally specific look and feel of the homemade, tend to 
be less easily acceptable as artistic. A ferociously intelligent videomaker 
like Martha Rosier gets labelled "anti-aesthetic." a surgical operation 
which, even if unintended, can only work to elevate all over again whoever 
we might suppose to be the "pro-aesthetic." What does it mean for working 
artists to be publicly and privately pronounced as anti-art? At first it may 
seem almost like an accolade (I Remember Dada). but as that impression 
wears off, the impure practitioner is perceived, aptly perceived, as a 
potential danger, who fails to respect or even recognize boundary lines. 
While the gatekeepers are often too canny, too impressionable, or even too 
honest to close the gate on troublesome work, at most levels of accomplish- 
ment (and given the usual exceptions) artists inaccurately perceived as 
insufficiently arty have to work twice as hard. The impurist 's appreciation 
of the creative possibilities latent in the mess of the everyday, once cate- 
gorized by the formalist as unaesthetic. can be speedily pushed from the 
intriguing territory of anti-art into the despised province of non-art. For the 
formalist, all art is formal. Now it's one thing for the formalist to grab all the 
marbles, but do we always have to play by his rules? I think not, if we are 
willing to see the rules as the stereotyped residue of historical relations. 

The hybridization of film and video will undoubtedly become enrolled 
in the list of acceptable formal techniques. It has already been appropriated 
by the market, by the vocabulary, technology, and production methods of 
advertising, which is ever alert to aesthetic development. The fairly recent 
reintroduction of black and white footage in music videos and TV commer- 
cials, for instance, imbues these prodigiously well-financed productions 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



with at once both a novel air of fashion (black and white is new because it's 
so old) and a somehow arty reference to Hollywood films of the classic era. 
Even poor quality black and white surveillance video has been used in comic 
bank commercials. In the future we can therefore hope for entire sitcoms to 
be shot using the Fisher Price camera. Here the movement of history 
(technological, cultural, political, whatever) is predictably purified to the 
movement of commodities, all traces of contradiction erased. But hybridi- 
zation as a conceptual tool to identify how history moves is something else 
again. 

Both Privilege and Urinal, in different ways, accept the untidy proble- 
matics of history, playfully rewriting them into the possibilities for present- 
day action. This strategy is scarcely possible when the richness of the past 
is reduced to the consolingly humanist abstractions of myth, which is the 
typical formalist's closest brush with history. Mary Douglas comments that 
"the paradox of the search for purity is that it is an attempt to force 
experience into logical categories of non-contradiction. But experience is 
not amenable and those who make the attempt find themselves led into 
contradiction." Matter out of place is inevitably contradictory and by its 
troublesome appearance invites inquiry as to its history. 

That historical contradictions reach right into the cradle is one of the main 
contentions of Out of the Mouth of Babes (produced by Sherry Millner and 
myself). The video collages multiple image registers, often in the same 
frame, of a World War II training film with second-rate actor Ronald 
Reagan as a bumbling fighter pilot, a TV speech by the same clean-cut actor 
as a bumbling President, super 8 home movies of a small child, mostly 
staged three-quarter-inch video (using a variety of props, the same child, 
and her parents as figures of authority), and deliberately scrawled graphics. 
This multiple layering is an attempt to show how levels of social reality 
ordinarily perceived as completely separate actually interpenetrate. This 
primarily visual strategy, settling for neither fiction nor documentary, sets 
itself the task of locating the connections among many human agents over 
time. It suggests that only in the struggle to attain agency can the havoc 
created by US foreign policy and the infantilization of the citizenry be 
disrupted and inverted. The specific site of this struggle shifts throughout 
the tape. In Babes, everything that matters seems to be out of place. As in 
Privilege and Urinal, the pure image is rewritten to show that purity is a 
subterfuge — it's the aesthetic alibi of authority . The contention of this video 
and the two films, as with most impure art, is that the image can no longer 
be seen for what it is unless it is marked, scored, dirtied, rewritten with the 
image of history bleeding through it, with as much presence as the radically 
imperfect glory of the human body. Pasolini's theorization of cinema as 
writing applies even more obviously to video, rotely referred to everywhere 
as a graphic (i.e., written) medium. To pursue this logic, impure cinevideo 
is thus clearly a form of rewriting, which enables it to zoom right past the 
avant-gardist cul de sac of originality. 

To quote Mary Douglas one last time: "Granted that disorder spoils 
pattern; it also provides the materials of pattern. Order implies restriction; 
from all possible materials, a limited selection has been made and from all 
possible relations a limited set has been used. So disorder by implication is 
unlimited, no pattern has been realised in it, but its potential for patterning 
is indefinite." The impure cinevideo thrives at the edge of disorder, 
indefinitely sketching a series of patterns that shift as the materials at hand 
themselves shift, privileging no single pattern, throwing the patterns them- 
selves onto the waste pile as they threaten to fall apart, and yet trying never 
to escape, trying always to follow or to challenge the movement of contra- 
diction. It's an interventionist approach, not only more adequately attuned 
to the heterogeneity of daily life, to the multiple and shifting textures of 
reality, but also more pleasurable and not without the throb of danger as it 
tries to capture what it is that is changing or about to change or trying to 
change. 

Ernest Larsen is a writer and curator of "Joint Ventures," a video 
exhibition on the politics of collaboration, at Artists Space from April 19 to 
May 19, 1990. 




The layering of super 8 home movies, a WWII US Air Force 
training film, digitized graphics, and more in Out of the 
Mouth of Babes mirrors the interpenetration of social realities 
that are ordinarily considered separate and distinct. 

For Larsen and Sherry Millner, coproducers of Out of the 
Mouth of Babes, purity is the "aesthetic alibi of authority." 
Impure art can reveal the history that underlies and imposes 
meaning on a given image. 

Courtesy cinevideomakers 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



Body/Language 



On Acting Styles, the Rehearsal Process, and Performance Politics 




Todd Haynes (left) 
and Larry Maxwell 
act it up in the 
horror-film sections of 
Hayne's tripartite 
feature, Poison, 
which utilizes 
different acting 
techniques in each of 
its three narrative 
strands. 

Courtesy Apparatus 
Productions, photo: Russell 
Fine 



MANOHLA DARGIS 



Reagan as Witness: Friendly but Forgetful 

Former President Ronald Reagan, sitting upright in a red leather chair in the witness 
box. smiled a bit. even chuckled, as he answered hundreds of questions last week in 
his videotaped deposition. Though it is likely to be a central exhibit in the forthcoming 
Iran-contra trial of his former national security adviser John M. Poindexter. Mr. 
Reagan's appearance lacked dramatic tension.... Mr. Reagan. ..was polite and 
friendly, even when he was unable to recall over and over events in the Iran-contra 
affair and broader matters involving his Presidency. 

New York Times. February 23. 1990 



Learning from Reagan 

When Ronald Reagan testified on videotape last February, his performance 
became, once again, a subject of media attention. Along with What did he 
know? and When did he know it? the more important question seemed to be. 
What kind of show did he put on? To the New York Times Reagan was 
"passive and incurious" on some topics (Iran), "animated and talkative" on 
others (the contras). The overall effect one had was of the aging, affable 
patrician (think Lionel Barrymore) who, when need be. leans back in his red 
leather chair, chortles, and forgets facts, dates, people. The irony of 
Reagan's "performance" is not that he testified, but that to a few eyes the 



cracks in the Hollywood veteran's dramatization had expanded noticeably. 
Despite Star Wars. Rambo. and even Reagan's screening Friendly Persua- 
sion for Gorbachev, it took some of us longer than others to notice the 
Hollywood effect in the ex-President's calculated, gee-whiz intonation. 
This H-effect dominated the evening news for eight years, but as a nation 
we were ill-equipped to deconstruct the classical Hollywood style of acting 
at home in the White House. 

Just as Ronald Reagan, the actor, managed to slip through eight years in 
the successfully dissimulated role of president, acting and actors in general 
have slipped through semiotic codes, textual analyses, and psychoanalytic 
models. In his useful Acting in the Cinema (University of California Press, 
1988). James Naremore makes the strong case for viewing acting, as much 
as any other aspect of the cinematic institution, as embedded in a web of his- 
torical, cultural, and social determinations. Aside from this study, an occa- 
sional article, and Richard Dyer's landmark work on stars, film acting re- 
mains both underexamined and undertheorized. Despite the popularization 
and academization of film analyses, auteurist biases persist in sustaining the 
myth of authorial intentions, while the cults of star personalities continue to 
speak to an extra-cinematic space of ritual desublimation. It is in this climate 
that acting hovers on the margins like an unwanted guest, occasionally 
alluded to. or, more often than not, simply ignored. 

Technique 

"Why is it so embarrassing to see a film with English actors?" ask Mark 
Nash and James Swinson in their 1985 two-part video, Acting Tapes. For 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



Director Sheila McLaughlin (right) works with 

professional actress Sheila Dabney, who plays the 

obsessive and possessive character Agatha in 

McLaughlin's feature She Must Be Seeing Things. 

Courtesy fimmaker 



Nash and Swinson, the answer is found in the stranglehold the English stage 
has maintained on film acting. Despite signs of change within the last British 
new wave (My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy andRosie Get Laid), the stagey 
tradition of high-brow "quality" product continues to hold sway, as the 
recent, apoplectic praise Kenneth Branagh's Henry V received makes 
abundantly clear. Although the failure to develop an approach to acting 
that's specific to film is more readily apparent in the UK because of the class 
biases of British-spoken English, the same problem courses through the 
history of film in the US. Assorted techniques, workshops, and schools 
aside, the most common style of acting in this country is one derived almost 
60 years ago from the Group Theatre and its various splinter groups, 
including the well-known Actors Studio. It matters little whether or not 
peformers call themselves Method actors; in some fashion their technique 
will be a much watered-down, American take on the system developed by 
cofounder and codirector of the Moscow Art Theatre, Constantin Stanis- 
lavski. 

Nash and Swinson note that the Method, with its very American empha- 
sis on heroic, bourgeois individuality, ended up a drastic departure from the 
Stanislavski System, which placed equal stress on both physical and 
psychological training. In "summing up" his codified technique, Stanis- 
lavski wrote: "On the stage a true inner creative state, action and feeling 
result in natural life on the stage in the form of one of the characters." 
Stanislavski died before publishing his complete System, and the exact 
parameters of his technique has been in dispute ever since. Original Group 
Theater members such as Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, and Lee Strasberg 
were divided as to the correct interpretation, and each went on to teach their 
own variations of the Stanislavski System. Under Strasberg's reign at the 
Actors Studio the System was dubbed the Method, and came to resemble 
something akin to actor psychotherapy, a far cry from Stanislavski's 
"psycho-physical" technique of training exercises and behaviorist psychol- 
ogy influences. 

By the mid-fifties Method acting (in reality a pastiche of different 
methods) dominated the cinematic landscape, typified by performers such 
as Marlon Brando, James Dean, Eva Marie Saint, and Julie Harris. The 
Method's success, however, was not only a consequence of an emphasis on 
the struggles of private interiority and psychology, in keeping with Amer- 
ica's postwar, Lonely Crowd climate, but was directly linked to transforma- 
tions in the Hollywood mode of production. By the early-fifties, postwar 
events, including both the court-forced breakup of vertical integration of the 
film industry and the rise of television, created an increased demand for 
product differentiation. Just as widescreen and stereophonic sound were 
introduced to attract new, specifically targeted audiences to the movies, so 
too the new generation of Method-trained actors who were auspicious — and 
bankable — successors to the old star system. 

My Actor, Myself 

For many independent directors the entire subject of acting is shrouded in 
a mystique. It's a sentiment that's also encouraged by those who feel 
compelled to promote the idea that acting is essentially the province of the 
theater. For the independent film/videomaker faced with the task of direct- 
ing people, it's imperative that acting be demystified, to treat acting as a part 
of the entire production process, granting it the same studied attention as, 
say, fundraising. 




Some film school programs not only require that students perform for 
their class and direct one another, they encourage work with professional 
actors. Hal Hartley recently generated a lot of notice with his first feature, 
The Unbelievable Truth. Hartley, a graduate of the film program at the State 
University of New York's Purchase College, began to direct while in 
school, working with students from the college's acting program first on 
stage, then in films. Familiarity with Purchase actors even led him to cast the 
feature with a number of graduates, including one of the leads, remarkable 
newcomer Robert Burke. Although the acting program at Purchase is 
Method-oriented, it was his lead actors' specific interest in the Meisner 
technique that Hartley used to his advantage. 

In some circles the name Sanford Meisner, a founding member of the 
Group Theatre, is increasingly synonymous with film acting. Based loosely 
on Stanislavski's System, the Meisner technique employs what its origina- 
tor calls "the reality of doing" as its foundation, using repetition exercises 
to induce real emotions. For Meisner, the immediacy of the moment, as well 
as communication with the other actors, is more important than "sense 
memory," a traditional cornerstone of the Method. While Meisner still 
shares in the Method-like idea of losing yourself in the role, there are clear 
distinctions. "Don't act, don't think, don't pretend, and don't anticipate," he 
warns students in Nick Doob's 1984 documentary Sanford Meisner: The 
Theater's Best Kept Secret, a collection of rhapsodic testimonials from 
former students and classroom moments with the master. Like other 
American offshoots of Stanislavski, the Meisner technique stresses instinct 
over intellect ("I'm against the head," says Meisner). To achieve the reality 
of doing, students perform endless repeat exercises, which are used first to 
strip away false, theatrical behavior, then to teach actors how to communi- 
cate with one another. Explains Meisner, "It's an exercise designed to 
eliminate all intellectuality from the actor's instinct, to make the actor a 
spontaneous responder." 

The Unbelievable Truth walks a thin line between black humor and 
surreal dislocation (a romantic comedy with spin, its plot involves a 
nihilistic teenager-tumed-model who falls for an ex-con), all within the 
framework of fairly straightforward narrative. To keep this balance work- 
ing, the performers, who at their best remain palpably distant, skim atop the 
film's tonal shifts. Instead of becoming mired in a deep emotionalism that 
could have smothered the film's playfulness, the acting retains an expres- 
sive surface quality. In one scene, a man and a woman sit at a diner booth 
and speak the same exact lines several different times with barely a pause 
or change in inflection. While the repeated dialogue slyly recalls another, 
earlier diner conversation ("Whadda ya wanna do?" "I dunno know, Marty, 
whadda ya wanna do?"), it's also a self-conscious expression of how 
Meisner's repeat exercises work to keep each new reading fresh and "in the 
moment." As Hartley and his actors discovered, the emphasis on the imme- 
diate was not only extremely suitable for the fragmented nature of film 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 




Using both professional and nonprofessional 
actors for his "atmospheric inmates'" in 
Poison, Haynes (center) encouraged them to 
ad-lib background dialogue. For period 
authenticity, Haynes gave everyone a 
glossary of prison slang from the 1940s. 

Photo Russell Fine, courtesy Bronze Eye 



production, but ideal for the reality of low-budget moviemaking, where 
getting it right the first or second take was a must. 

If you don't go to film school, the opportunities to work with professional 
actors, outside of theater, are fairly limited. One option is the film workshop. 
A devotee of the circuit is independent film director Sheila McLaughlin 
(Committed, She Must Be Seeing Things), who supplements her directing 
experience and occasional gigs as an actress with different workshops 
("I've taken them all"). Despite the fact that she's found the majority 
unhelpful — including a "truly offensive" three-day session in which the 
instructor told nonstop racist and sexist jokes — McLaughlin maintains the 
workshops are worthwhile. "It's so difficult to leam directing except by 
doing, so if there is a possibility of anything being truly helpful, then it's 
worth it." She did find a New York University directing/acting workshop 
conducted by William Greaves particularly useful because it "was very 
much about dialogue and developing a scene with the actors." Like other 
filmmakers, McLaughlin finds that "one of the main problems with direc- 
tors is that they don't understand the language of actors," admitting that "the 
language of acting can seem a little embarrassing sometimes... it seems a 
little corny to me." One option she 'd like to pursue is enrollment in an actors ' 
workshop: "If I had the time, money, and the opportunity, I would try 
something like that." 

When it comes to acting, Buddy Giovinazzo, who directed and produced 
Combat Shock, is blunt: "The actors are the most important element during 
production, if the acting doesn't work nothing else will." Giovinazzo 
recently conducted a director's workshop at Film/Video Arts in New York 
City. Although his F/VA class attracted technical adepts, he also found, 
unsurprisingly, that his students didn't "have any idea how to deal with 
actors." His strategies include bringing professional actors into class and 
teaching aspiring directors how to make actors of differing levels and 
training reach their performance peaks together. In one exercise Giovinazzo 
will work a scene with both Method and non-Method actors just to illustrate 
how dissimilar techniques can be used in consort. Like a number of other 
directors, Giovinazzo stresses that it's crucial to develop the actors' trust: 
"Be partners with actors and work with the technical crew. . .learn what the 
actors' fears and concerns are." But, he says, also know that sometimes you 
"just have to leam how to lie" to your performers if you can't come up with 
answers to their questions. Although Giovinazzo. who studied acting 
himself (something a number of other filmmakers believe is crucial), favors 
Meisner, in class he tries to stress differences in directorial style rather than 



variations in acting techniques. Students should know how to mix and 
match different performance types, but it's the contrast between what 
Giovinazzo terms the "invisible," seamless work of directors such as James 
Brooks, with the more stylistic hyperbole of directors like David Lynch and 
Martin Scorsese, that he believes deserves greater attention. 

Casting 

Although a good casting director can save a filmmaker a lot of time, most 
independents can't afford the luxury, since fees may reach as high as 
S 1 5 ,000 to $75 ,000 per fi lm . Instead, independents often seek out their own 
talent, with the knowledge that the smaller the budget, the greater the 
adventure. There are a number of ways to cast a film. As with the late John 
Cassavetes, you can recruit family and friends, but if you're not married to 
Gena Rowlands and your best friend isn't Peter Falk, this can be a dangerous 
route. Like Jean-Luc Godard, Chilean exile Raul Ruiz also uses friends and 
nonprofessionals in his films. And. unless you are consciously striving for 
Brechtian alienation, as do Ruiz and Godard, this approach can prove to be 
a problem, especially in less accomplished hands. 

In Los Angeles the main resource for professional talent is Drama- 
Logue, an entertainment and casting weekly; in New York City it's the 
weekly trade publication Backstage. Even an advertisement for a modest, 
student film in Backstage will attract an avalanche of responses. Christine 
Vachon, filmmaker and cofounderof the independent production company 
Apparatus, recalls that the first time Apparatus put an ad in Backstage they 
received "hundreds and hundreds" of photographs . It didn ' t take long before 
Apparatus had learned to read a resume instead of a face, watching out for 
clues such as good teachers, theater companies, and past productions. 

The flood of responses from New York's legions of underemployed 
actors isn't unusual. Director Lizzie Borden tells a similar story about 
casting her second film, Working Girls. After first recruiting downtown 
theater actors she knew already, Borden placed an ad in Backstage and was 
deluged with "buckets" of replies, out of which she was only able to cast two 
female roles. In her earlier film, the SF feminist thriller Born in Flames, 
Borden mainly used nonprofessional actors who spoke their own words, in 
an attempt "to find the language of each woman." Despite the pleasures of 
working in an atmosphere akin to a consciousness-raising group, the 
experience was fraught with difficulty, one Borden swore she would never 
repeat. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



Director Lizzie Borden (left) with some of the 

nonprofessionals cast in her feminist film Born in 

Flames. Aiming for a naturalistic acting style 

and attempting "to find the language of each 

woman," Borden encouraged her players to 

speak their own words. 

Courtesy filmmaker 




Working Girls, a sympathetic, yet unflinching look at the life of a brothel 
prostitute, posed its own, rather unique difficulties. Although the picture's 
nudity and sexual frankness was initially an issue for some professionals 
(Melanie Mayron, now of Thirtysomething, never called back), it wasn't a 
problem for the actresses Borden eventually cast. What Borden could not 
foresee was the trouble she would have trying to convince the male actors 
to get naked in front of the camera. This became such a headache that she 
was finally forced to take out ads in Screw magazine in order to fill some of 
the male roles. 

Rehearsals 

Despite misguided criticism that Born in Flames was "badly" acted, Lizzie 
Borden didn't want to give up the sense of naturalism she had nurtured in 
the earlier work. For Working Girls, Borden went to great lengths to re- 
create real brothel life. When the actresses for Working Girls showed up on 
the first day of rehearsal "tackily" dressed, Borden remedied their street 
hooker impressions by sending the women off to an actual brothel. There 
they auditioned for jobs — in the nude — as authentic working girls, an 
experience from which they returned to rehearsal much subdued. To 
amplify the sense of brothel truth, Borden not only made the set as "situa- 
tionally real as I could and shot in sequence," she also made sure that 
genuine working girls were always available to the actresses for reference. 
To an extent, these elaborate attempts at verisimilitude recall Robert De 
Niro's celebrated preparations for the title role in Scorsese's Raging Bull. 
Yet the acting styles in both movies couldn't be more dissimilar. While 
Raging Bull is suffused with hyperemotionalism (De Niro is part of the 
second generation of Method-trained actors), Working Girls sustains a cool 
level of self-conscious distance perfectly suited to its subject. The film's 
honesty has had its ironic drawbacks. According to Borden, Working Girls 
has often been misinterpreted — credits and all — as a documentary, which 
has made it more difficult to convince Hollywood backers of her ability to 
make fiction films. 

I, An Actress 

Filmmaker Todd Haynes is probably best known as the man who cast Barbie 
dolls in his very unofficial filmed biography Superstar: The Karen Carpen- 
ter Story. Haynes had in fact already made the earlier Assassins, another film 



shot while he was a student at Brown University. The Barbies' perform- 
ances were above reproach, but Haynes was criticized for the "amateurish" 
acting in Assassins, despite the fact that its performance style is very much 
in keeping with the movie's self-conscious, jerry-built feel. For his latest 
project, Poison, Haynes has returned to working with human beings. ("I like 
people better than plastic") The feature-length film is divided into three 
separate but intercut parts, all of which are shot in very distinct styles. 
Because each section loosely conforms to a different genre — documentary, 
horror film, prison movie — casting was particularly complicated. 

"I'm still learning a lot about acting," says Haynes. "Poison was incredi- 
bly ambitious in that regard because we wanted three different styles of 
acting to be utilized in three different stories. In the documentary or 
pseudodocumentary one, I really wanted you to believe what is pretty much 
an unbelievable story [a boy kills his father and flies out a window] and do 
it very straightforwardly and very much in earnest. So it was really 
important to have as believable performances as possible." In the horror 
section, on the other hand, Haynes wanted to experiment with a "broader, 
more bestial" kind of performance, without going over the top into anything 
approaching camp. As with Superstar, in this section Haynes was particu- 
larly interested in playing the line between distanciation and emotional 
engagement. Eventually, after a lot of difficulty, the decision was made to 
cast the movie with both professionals and nonprofessionals, in part because 
of Poison's experimental mix of film styles. 

Of nonprofessionals, Poison's assistant director Christine Vachon ad- 
vises that "you can get great performances, but you have to be careful." This 
is particularly true with a monologue, because even if someone has a strong 
theatrical personality, he or she may not be able to sustain that effect on 
camera. Although some first-time performers are inspired, a basic problem 
with nonactors, according to Vachon, is that they tend to sound as if they're 
reading lines. On the other hand, overrehearsing nonprofessionals can be 
tricky, since an untrained performance can become very stale very quickly. 
Because nonprofessionals are somewhat of an unknown quantity, a director 
has to learn whether or not they can function with any kind of leeway. The 
"documentary" section of Poison (which was cast with 80 percent nonpro- 
fessionals), for example, features a real life, high school janitor. Haynes 
wanted the man to riff off a fictive premise — he was asked to comment on 
the kind of graffiti kids leave — but because the students didn't really write 
on the walls, the janitor couldn't respond. He needed something that made 
sense to him, something that wasn't only plausible, but that related to his 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 




Ellen McElduff (left) as the madame of a 
high-class brothel and Janne Peters as her 
over-the-hill employee in Borden's 
Working Girls. After her cast showed up 
the first day of the shoot dressed in tacky 
prostitute garb, Borden packed them off 
to audition for jobs at an actual brothel in 
order to correct their stereotyped 
impressions of what life there is like. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



ov. n experience. Only then could he give a performance as "himself." 

A number of independent directors like Haynes. Borden, and McLaugh- 
lin have gone to New York's downtown theaters for their reserves of talent. 
Conventional wisdom has it that theater acting is too "big" for film, but this 
isn't the case with New York's off-off Broadway, anti-theater scene. 
Curiously, on stage the performance style of actors like those in New York 's 
Wooster Group often seem closer to the pantomime influences evident in 
early silent film, rather than what passes for current cinematic realism. At 
the same time, the performance style of many of these actors seems 
particularly suitable for film, perhaps because it is so. in the traditional 
sense, ami -theatrical. Even though Group actors like Ron Vawter and 
Willem Dafoe have made successful leaps into film, not all theater perform- 
ers want to work on celluloid. Wooster Group members Kate Valk and 
Peyton Smith, forexample. have both worked in independent film but prefer 
to devote their energies to the Group. Smith explains her preference 
candidly: "The difference between film acting and theater acting is that 
unless you're the star... you have nothing to do with it — you're meat." 

Difference 

Any deviation from the Sambo style could result in trouble... blacks had to show 
ready acquiescence by inflection and gesture, to appear by even- outward sign to be 
'willingly and cheerfully' humble. 

— Neil R. McMillen 
Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow 

For some time, the representation of the female body — from Garbo's face 
to Dietrich's veil — has been the locus of intense debate among film theorists 
and critics. Leaving aside now familiar arguments about woman's to-be- 
looked-at-ness. it's clear that certain ways of analyzing are better equipped 
to discuss women in terms of stasis, rather than action. It's a given that as 
spectacle, whether on screen or in the street, women are bound up in a chain 
of signification that refuses their access to power. But what happens when 
a woman jumps on a motorcycle to fight rapists as she does in the Australian 
import Shame? Or becomes a cop and carries a gun as she does in Blue Steel? 
What happens when what Brecht called the social gest — "the mimetic and 
gestural expression of the social relationships prevailing between people of 
a given period" — changes fundamentally? 



It's in a similar vein that filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Rog- 
bodiyan takes up "the notion of constructing black modes of body postural 
semantics." Rogbodiyan, who recently completed shooting Julie Dash's 
Daughters of the Dust, believes black actors are traditionally stuck between 
two poles: "always having to be on, which is really about being attentive to 
white people, to authority." and the Shakespearean mode of excellence and 
overcompensation. Part of being "on" manifests itself in performances he 
calls "minstrel acting." a tendency that finds its effect in hyperexteriority. 
Thus, while black body language — the cool quotient — is "picked up by the 
[white] mainstream." black people, in order to ward off the dangerous, at 
times deadly, reading of "the silent nigger." must express a "forced 
exteriority as a survivor strategy." In other words, keep them entertained. 

As the smooth, modulated acting style favored by Hollywood keeps 
contradiction in check, so too does the regulated performance of certain 
social groups work to sustain a dominant "narrative" coherence. It's in this 
light that the issue of seamless performance takes on grave urgency. To turn 
off that performance, argues Rogbodiyan, to lapse or deviate from it, is to 
imply danger — "If I wear my subjectivity, it can be too disturbing." 

Dominant Hollywood cinema allows for a very limited range of perform- 
ance styles, because as with its other constituents, "naturalistic" acting is a 
handmaiden of the conventional narrative. The predominant performance 
style in mainstream American films today is a carefully modulated "real- 
ism," one that attempts to erase its own footprints as the movie unfolds. As 
spectators we look at and through acting all the time, judging performers on 
how successfully or unsuccessfully they mask — rather than simply hide — 
their work. One reason an actress like Meryl Streep is open to periodic 
hostility from some critics is that her remarkable gift for dialect foregrounds 
her craft too much for certain tastes. 

Audiences are never totally ignorant of the effort, the work, that goes into 
"good" acting. Part of the pleasure of being a spectator is the ability to 
recognize, approve, even reward, skillful peformances, to take part in an 
aesthetic consensus. While acting itself — technique — is never truly invis- 
ible, its work as a conveyer of other meanings is meant to be shrouded. Like 
a gossammer veil, technique is always there yet barely visible, obscuring 
greater meanings even as it draws attention to itself. It is the messenger, not 
the message, that we read. The dangers of Ronald Reagan. The Movie are 
obvious. So too the sequel. 

Manohla Dargis writes on film for the Village Voice and elsewhere. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



RENEE TAJIMA 



IN & OUT OF 
PRODUCTION 



Excluded from the white-dominated cinema in- 
dustry, African American filmmakers have devel- 
oped independently since the early 1900s — build- 
ing a legacy that extends from Oscar Micheaux 
and Spencer Williams to William Greaves and 
Spike Lee. Soon New York-based videomaker 
Charles Butler Nuckolls III will document the 
visual history of African American filmmakers in 
In Our Own Image. In his documentary, Nuck- 
olls and writer Michael Dinwiddie will chronicle 
the earliest cinema pioneers, focusing on repre- 
sentation of black culture, personality, and expe- 
rience in motion pictures and placing the develop- 
ment of African American filmmakers and black 
images in the continuum of creative history. The 
history chronicled in In Our Own Image will 
start in 1918, the year Micheaux — father of 
African American filmmaking — released The 
Homesteader with an all-black cast. It will then 
trace subsequent efforts by African American 
filmmakers to control the image of their culture 
and personality, to their current participation in 
motion pictures and television. Nuckolls has 
already interviewed such independents as 
Ayoka Chenzira, Warrington Hudlin, St. Clair 
Bourne, Michelle Parkerson, Ronald Grey, and 
Gordon Parks Sr. Funding for the documentary 
has been secured from Arts Matters, Writers 
Guild of America East, and American Film In- 
stitute. In Our Own Image: Production Part- 
ners, 17 E. 17th St., New York, NY 10003; 
(212) 675-3000; fax: (212) 675-3275. 

Producer/director Ben Model, a self-pro- 
claimed exile from the New York University 
graduate film school, has completed The Puerto 
Rican Mambo. starring comedian Luis Cabal- 
lero. The feature-length film is about the Puerto 
Rican people, their culture and way of looking at 
things, told from the point of view of writer/actor 
Caballero. As stated in the publicity material, The 
Puerto Rican Mambo is something of a sociologi- 
cal study which asks of Puerto Ricans, "Where are 
we going?" "How did we get here?" and "Why 
don't we own anything?" Model shot the film on 
super 16, relying on the widely used "no budget 
technique" of independent filmmaking. While 
27-year-old Model grew up in suburban West- 
chester county, Caballero hails from the South 
Bronx, Lower East Side, and Spanish Harlem. At 
age 38, he's done the comedy clubs (although 
refusing to play thieves and junkies) and had 
television spots on shows like Showtime at the 
Apollo and Star Search. Their joint effort, funded 
with a small inheritance via Model, got a boost 
when New York Times columnist Douglas Martin 
wrote a feature on the project last February. Since 
then, the film has enjoyed a stampede of press 
interest, if not distribution offers. The Puerto 
Rican Mambo: Pinata Films, 165 W. 80th St., 
#5H, New York, NY 10024. 

Washington, D.C. video artist Margot Starr 



Kernan completed a new tape, Cold Stories, last 
January. In this poetic fantasy of violence and 
revenge, two sisters, played by Laurie Stepp and 
Donna Squier, remember their childhood with a 
seductive father and an absent mother. The tape, 
shot by Virginia Quesado and with original music 
by Bob Boilen, combines acted sequences, archi- 
val color movies of a 1 939 Antarctica expedition, 
and still images. It is the second of three video 




In Margot Starr Keman's poetic fantasy of violence and 
revenge, Cold Stories, two sisters remember their 
childhood with a seductive father and an absent mother. 

Courtesy videomaker 

narratives about a suburban California family. 
The complete trilogy, entitled Listening, will be 
exhibited as part of a three-channel installation at 
the Washington Project for the Arts and the 
Madison, Wisconsin Art Center this spring. The 
trilogy is supported by the Media Arts Program of 
the WPA and has been awarded a grant from the 
District of Columbia Commission and the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts. Cold Stories: 
Starry Night Video, 1601 -38th St., NW, Wash- 
ington, D.C. 20007; (202) 338-0206. 

Says critic Paul Goldbergerof the architectural 
painter Richard Haas, "To Haas, a blank wall in a 
city is a wound, it's a gash, and he wants to heal it 
over." His mammoth trompe l'oeil murals appear 
on structures in 27 cities across the US and have 
been documented in a new 56-minute film. Paint- 
ing the Town, by Amalie Rothschild. She intro- 
duces the artist behind the works and attempts to 
engage the audience with his witty and humane 
attack on these aspects of urban blight. Painting 
the Town premiered at the Sundance United States 
Film Festival and New Directors/New Films series. 
Painting the Town: Direct Cinema, Box 69799, 
Los Angeles, CA 90069; (213) 652-8000; fax: 
(213)652-2346. 

Filmmaker Ellen Bruno has worked with 



Cambodian people since 1980, when she served 
as a field coordinator for a family reunification 
program in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambo- 
dian border. She brings this experience to her new 
film, Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambo- 
dia. The 28-minute documentary looks at the 
lives of Cambodian people long troubled by war 
and political turmoil. Bruno does not address 
issues inherent in the continuing conflicts over 
political legitimacy there, but concentrates in- 
stead on the people who, in a climate of war and 
with limited resources, struggle to reconstruct a 
shattered society. In Sanskrit, Samsara means 
"perpetual repetition of birth and death from the 
past through the present to the future." In the film, 
ancient prophecy, Buddhist teachings, folklore, 
and dreams allow the audience to understand the 
world view of the Cambodian people and the 
philosophies that guide their lives. The film pre- 
miered at the Hawaii International Film Festi- 
val, Sundance United States Film Festival, and 
Film Arts Foundation Festival. Samsara: Ellen 
Bruno, 171 Old La Honda Rd., Woodside, CA 
94062; (415) 851-2398. 

This spring, filmmaker Alyce Wittenstein 
will travel through Germany, Sweden, Den- 
mark, and Holland with her new film No Such 
Thing as Gravity, a comedy about a world of 
the near future. Imagine this: The entire planet 
Earth is governed by the interests of its largest 
corporation, producer of elaborate consumer 
goods. The fun begins when the corporation's 
most ambitious project, an artificial planet used 
for a refugee camp, begins to slide out of its 
orbit — thereby threatening Earth with extinc- 
tion. In No Such Thing as Gravity, filmmaker 
Wittenstein employs expressionist black and 
white photography of the site of the 1964 
World's Fair to punctuate D. Lee's original score 
and Wendy Wild's climactic rendition of the 
film's ominous theme song. No Such Thing as 
Gravity: Verge Prods, 141 W. Broadway, New 
York, NY 10013; (212) 619-3703. 



ATTENTION 

AIVF MEMBERS 



The In and Out of Production column is a 
regular feature in The Independent, designed 
to give AIVF members an opportunity to 
keep the organization and others interested 
in independent media informed about cur- 
rent work. We profile works-in-progress as 
well as recent releases. These are not critical 
reviews, but informational descriptions. 
AIVF members are invited to submit de- 
tailed information about their latest film or 
videotape for inclusion in In and Oat of 
Production Send descriptions and black 
and white photographs to: The Independent, 
625 Broadway, 9th floor.. New York. NY 
10012; athr. In and Out of Production. 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



SEVENTH ANNUAL 

ATLANTIC FILM & VIDEO 
PRODUCERS CONFERENCE 

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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA 

JUNE 21 -24, 1990 
YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND 



For further information 
please contact 

PETER RICHARDS, COORDINATOR 

ATLANTIC FILM & VIDEO 

PRODUCERS CONFERENCE 

PO BOX 2726 

CHARLOTTETOWN 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND. CANADA 

C1A8C3 

TELEPHONE (902)892-3131 
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This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Kathryn Bowser, director of the FIVF 
Festival Bureau. Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement. Since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. 
In order to improve our reliability and 
make this column more beneficial to 
independents, we encourage all film- and 
videomakers to contact FIVF Festival 
Bureau with their personal festival 
experiences, positive and negative. 

Domestic 

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct. 

25-28, CA. 10th anniv. edition, accepting works by ind. 
video artists. Rental fees paid for tapes screened. Bennett 
Award goes for achievements in local TV programming. 
Several sections, incl. new works & various thematic 
areas. Curated by team of independent video pro- 
fessionals/activists. Entry fee: $25. Format: 3/4". 
Deadline: June 1. Contact: Kenneth Kirby, AFI Video 
Festival. 202 1 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 9027; 
(213) 856-7771; fax: (213) 462-4049; telex: 3729910 
FILM LSA. 

ASPEN FTLMFEST. Sept. 21-25, CO. Invitational show- 
case for ind. shorts, docs & features annually presents 
program of about 35 films, incl. some winners of Short 
Subject Film Competition. For competition, ind. 
filmmakers must live & work in US; films must be 
completed after Jan. 1, 1989 & be under 30 min. No 
instructional/promo films accepted. S2000 in prize 
money. Entry fee: S20. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm. Deadline: 
June 20. Contact: Jody Ensign. Aspen Filmfest. Box 
8910, Aspen, CO 81612; (303) 925-6882; fax: (303) 
925-9534. 

BALTIMORE INDEPENDENT FILM AND VIDEO 
MAKERS COMPETITION. Oct. 4-6/10-11, MD. 21st 
annual competition for ind. film & video artists, w/ over 
$4000 in cash prizes awarded in all cats. Entries also 
receive S2/running min. (minimum S15). Works com- 
missioned by commercial org. or for classroom use not 
accepted. Cats: animation, long & short doc. long & 
short dramatic, experimental. Entry fees: S20 (under 40 
min.): S30 (41-60 min.); $40 (over 61 min.). Presented 
by Baltimore Film Forum & cosponsored by Enoch 
Pratt Free Library. Formats: 16mm. super 8, 3/4", 1/2". 
Deadline: June 1. Contact: Vicky Westover. Baltimore 
Film Forum. Baltimore Museum of Art. 1 Art Museum 
Dr.. Baltimore, MD 21218; (301) 889-1993. 

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CHILD- 
REN'S FILMS. Oct. 12-21, IL. 7th annual competitive 

fest for high quality children's material. Films & videos 
that are entertainment for children 1 3 or younger show- 
cased; educational or instructional works not accepted. 



Last yr 102 films from 20 countries competed in several 
cats. Entries prescreened by jury which incl. children. 
Awards in following cats: feature-length live action film 
(over 60 min.); feature-length animation (over60 min.); 
feature-length mixed live action & animation film (over 
60 min.); short live action film (15-60 min. ,1-14 min.) 
short animation film (25-60 min.. 10-24 min.. 5-9 min., 
under 5 min.); feature-length live action video (over 60 
min.), feature-length animation video (over 60 min.), 
single video program from series, short animation video 
(1-60 min.), short live action video (1-60 min.), most 
popular film & tape; special jury prizes; Liv Ullmann 
Peace Prize for film which significantly contributes to 
int'l understanding of issues concerning world peace. 
Screenings held for children, families, community groups 
on weekends & after school & children in classroom 
groups on school days. Potential buyers, distributors, 
programmers, media librarians & educators attend. 
Participating filmmakers offered hospitality. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4"; preview on 1/2". No entry fee. 
Deadline: July 1. Contact: Shirley Edmonds. Chicago 
International Festival of Children's Films, 1517 W. 
Fullerton Ave.. Chicago, IL 60614; (312) 281-9075; 
fax: (312) 929-5437; telex: 20-6701. 

COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, Oct. 23-25, OH. Established in 1952, 
competitive fest accepts entries in cats of art/culture, 
business/industry, education, health/medicine, religion/ 
ethics, social studies, travel, media of print (posters, 
press kits, ads, etc.); each cat w/ different chair. Work 
must be completed after 1988. Awards: Chris (highest 
award in subject areas of cats): Bronze Plaque. Certificate 
of Honorable Mention; special awards. Chris winners 
eligible for Oscar consideration in doc feature cat. 
Competitive. Entry fees: from S70 (under 15 min.) to 
$350 (TV series). Formats: 16mm. 1/2". Deadline: July 
16. Contact: Nancy Maxwell. Columbus Int'l Film & 
Video Festival, 1229 West Third Ave., Columbus, OH 
43212; (614) 291-2149. 

DCTV VIDEO FESTIVAL. Sept. 10-12, NY. Non- 
competitive. 2nd annual video fest highlighting tapes w/ 
particular viewpoint & primary impetus from thoughtful 
cultural, social, or political awareness. Doc. narrative, 
portraiture, experimental, music & other variations 
accepted; film-to-tape transfers not eligible. Selected 
tapes screened during the fest. aired on Manhattan Cable 
TV & possibly sent on tour to other cities. Roughcuts 
finished by Aug. 1990 OK. No entry fee. Sponsored by 
Downtown Community Television. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta, video 8. Deadline: July 16. Contact: Maria Beatty, 
DCTV Video Festival, 87 Lafayette St., New York, NY 
10013: (212) 941-1298; fax: (212) 219-0248. 

HAWAU INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Decem- 
ber. HI . 1 0th yr celebration for noncompetitive showcase 
of works from or about Asian-Pacific region that promote 
understanding among people of Asia. Pacific & US. 
Great community support; all screenings & seminars 
free to public & over 50.000 attend. Fest theme: When 
Strangers Meet. East-West Center award goes to top 
film; Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Photo- 
graphy & Documentary Award. Fest held at 1 locations 
on Oahu w/ selections also presented on Molokai. Maui, 
Kauai & Big Island. About 50-80 films shown each yr. 
Features, docs & shorts on all topics accepted. No entry 
fee. Formats: 70mm. 35mm. 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: 
July 1. Contact: Jeannette Paulson, dir.. Hawaii Inter- 
national Film Festival. East- West Center, 1777 East- 
West Rd„ Honolulu, HI 96848; (808) 944-7666; fax: 
(808) 944-7670; telex: 989171. 

LASSEN COUNTY VIDEO FESTIVAL. September. CA. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



Now in 3rd yr, competitive fest accepts entries for 1st, 
2nd & 3rd prizes in each cat per division. Divs: amateur, 
K-6, 7-12, college, adult, professional, foreign; cats: 
nature, doc/educational, satire/comedy. Entries should 
be 5-8 min. Format: 1/2". Entry fees: $5 (student), $30 
(institute), $50 (professional). Deadline: June 30. 
Contact: Arlene Gotshalk, Lassen County Video Festival, 
Lassen County Arts Council, Box 91, Susanville, CA 
96130; (916) 257-5222. 

MARIN COUNTY NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, June 30-July 4, CA. Now in 20th yr, 
competitive event offers $800- 1 000 awards to top entries 
in ea. division. Film division: ind., animated, student. 
Video division: ind., experimental, student (indiv. & 
class projects). Commercially subidized films/videos 
not eligible. Open to US residents only. Entries must be 
under 30 min., completed in previous yr. & suitable for 
audience w/ children. Entry fee: $10. Formats: 3/4", 
16mm. Deadline: June 1. Contact: YolandaF. Sullivan, 
fair mgr., Marin County Nat'l Film & Video Festival, 
Fairgrounds, San Rafael, CA 94903; (415) 499-6400. 

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 4-11, CA. West 
Coast premieres highlight schedule at noncompetitive 
fest, which programs work of US ind. filmmakers as 
well as full slate of int'l entries. Also 3-day video fest, 
along w/ tributes & seminars. Last yr's fest featured 13 
ind. features & 48 programs from 19 countries playing to 
audiences of over 22,000. Considered to be nat'l fest 
where new discoveries are made. Fest looks for works 
that demonstrate commitment & deal w/ pressing social 
issues (plus wide range of other types of entries). Features, 
shorts, docs, videos accepted. Several film/videomakers 
attend w/ work. Entry fee: $12. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4"; preview on 1/2". Deadline: July 1. Contact: Mark 
Fishkin, artistic dir./Mary Pottier, film programming 
dir., Mill Valley Film Festival, 80 Lomita Dr., suite 20, 
Mill Valley,CA 94941; (415) 383-5256; fax: (415) 383- 
8606. 

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 21 -Oct. 7, NY. At 
forefront of major int'l fests, 28-yr-old prestigious, 
noncompetitive fest shows approx. 25 film programs 
from throughout world, primarily full-length narrative 
features but also doc features & experimental films of all 
lengths. Short films programmed w/features. Audiences 
nearly always sold out in advance & incl. major NY film 
critics & distributors. Press conferences after ea. 
screening. Entries must be US premieres, completed 
btwn July 1, 1989 & July 10, 1990. Presented by Film 
Society of Lincoln Center & held at Alice Tully Hall at 
Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. No entry fee. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preview on 3/4" & 1/2". 
Deadline: early July. Contact: Marian Masone, New 
York Film Festival, 140 W. 65th St., New York, NY 
10023; (212) 877-1800, ext. 489; fax: (212) 724-2813. 

OFF THE WALL VIDEO FESTIVAL, September, DC. 
First yr for new fest seeking original, innovative & 
unusual video shorts under 1 mins. Entrants "encouraged 
to put their pet crazy idea on tape & submit it." Prizes: 
1st ($500); 2nd ($250), 3rd ($100), 20hon. mentions (t- 
shirts). Winners become part of "Best Of compilation 
tape for nat'l dist. Entry fee: $ 10 per 1-3 tapes ($3 addt'l 
forretum shipping). Formats: 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Deadline: 
June 30. Contact: Off the Wall Video Festival, 14703-E 
Baltimore Ave., Laurel, MD 20707; (301) 317-8381. 



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annual competiiise sur\e\ of new mi'l children's film, 
held in region of Rivers Rhine & Ruhr. Program elements: 
competition, info, section, retrospective/workshops & 
adult series "Films with Children." Awards of DM5000 
ea.: Children's Film Prize of Essen; Der Blaue Elefant 
(awarded b\ 1 3-member children's jury, age 8- 12. from 
Essen. Mulheim & Oberhausen); European Prize 
I awarded by class of students. 10-13 yrs). Work must be 
ai least 60 min. & not released in Germany. Info, section 
admits works shot in film & video. Formats: 70mm. 
35mm. 16mm. 3/4" (PAL), 1/2" (PAL). Deadline: June 
30. Contact: Birgit Herz/Jiirgen Neumann. Internationales 
Essener Kinderfilmfesii\ al, Jugendamt der Stadt Essen, 
Lindenallee 1 0. D-4300 Essen l.W. Germany: tel: (201) 
884512: fax: (201) 885103: telex: 857 730 sked. 

INDIAN SUMMER WORLD FESTIVAL OF ABORIG1- 
Wl MOTION PICTURES. Sept. 19-23. Canada. 50 
films & videos by & about aboriginal peoples of world 
selected for noncompetitive fest. now in 4th yr. Theme: 
Protecting Mother Earth (although entries can be on any 
topic). Cats: doc feature, docudrama. live short subject, 
commercial feature, doc short, industrial, animated short. 
Entry fee: S40CDN. Format: 35mm. 16mm. 3/4". Dead- 
line: July 16. Contact: Robin Lawless. Indian Summer 
World Festival of Aboriginal Motion Pictures. Box 
2800. 696 Kettles St.. Pincher Creek. Alberta. Canada 
TOK 1WO: tel: (403) 627-4813; fax: (403) 627-5039. 

INTERFILM FESTIVAL. September. W. Germany. 
Begun 8 yrs ago as super 8 fest. Interfilm now presents 
film, video & related work from throughout world. 
Format: 16mm. super 8. 3/4". 1/2": preview on 1/2". 
Entry fee: SlOfincl. S AS E for return of tape). Deadline: 
June 15. Contact: Jurgen Bruning. Hallwalls. 700 Main 
St.. Buffalo. NY 14202; (716) 854-5828. 

LAUSANNE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILMS 
ON ENERGY FIFEL. Nov. 16-20, Switzerland. Biennial 
(even yrs) competition for films w/ central theme of new 
& renewable sources of energy (e.g., solar energy, 
geophysical energy, nuclear fusion, hydrogen). Awards: 
Grand Prix. Award of State of Vaud. Award of City of 
Lausanne. Award of Swiss Federal Inst, of Technology. 
Special Jury Aw ard. Special Award of Swiss Assoc, of 
Univ. Postgraduates in Energy. Special Award of Swiss 
Assoc, for Scientific Films, best doc. best fiction, best 
animated cartoon, public award. Invited guests receive 3 
days hospitality. Works may be up to 60 min. French 
subtitles or transcripts should be provided. No entry fee. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 3/4". 1/2". Deadline: June 30. 
Contact: Georgel Visdei. Festival International du Film 
surl'Energiede Lausanne. Escaliers du Marche 19. 1003 
Lausanne. Switzerland: tel: (021) 312 17 35: fax: (021) 
206 509: telex: 454 199 TXC CH. 



LONDON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Nov. 
8-25. England. Last y r FIVE cooperated w/ London 
in selection of large number of entries (23) for 
special section on US inds. FTVF will work w/ them 
again this yr, arranging group shipment of preview 
cassettes to London & of selected films to fest in 
Nov. Lx>ndon.anmvutaucmayiK)ncornpetirivefest. in 
34th yr as England's major "festival of festivals." 
screening about 170 works from 35 countries to 
audiences of 75,000. Many buyers & distribs attend, 
as well as large contingent of British & int'l press. 
Sections incl. Panorama (world cinema;) UK films; 
French works; US inds; African. Asian & Latin 
American films; LFF on the Square (mainstream 
films). Screenings held in various parts of London, 
incl. Odeon Leicester Square. Warner's Leicester 
Square Theater, Empire, Metro Cinema. Inst, of 



Contemporary Cinema. Entries must be UK 
premieres. Fiction & doc accepted, any length, all 
genres. Fest formats: 70mm. 35mm. 1 6mm. super 8, 
3/4 "; preview on cassette only. Submission fee: $ 15, 
payable to FTVF. Deadline at FTVF: July 1 . For info. 
& appl., send SASE or contact: Kathryn Bowser. 
FTVF. 625 Broadway, 9th fl.New York. NY 10012; 
(212) 473-3400. If applying direcdy to London, 
deadline is Aug. 1 . Contact; Sheila Whitaker. London 
International Film Festival, National Fihn Theatre, 
South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 8XT, England; 
tel: (071) 928-3535; fax: (071) 633-9323: telex: 
929220 NATFTL G. 

MIPCOM INTERNATIONAL FILM AND PROGRAM 
MARKET FOR TV. VIDEO, CABLE & SATELLITE. Oct. 

11-15, France. Major int'l television market held in 
Cannes, where more than 5000 participants from 5 
continents meet to buy & sell for TV & trade int'l an- 
cillary rights for film, video, satellite & cable. Contact: 
MIPCOM. 1 79, ave. Victor-Hugo, 75116 Paris, France; 
tel: (331)45 05 14 03; fax: (331) 47 55 91 22 or Int'l 
Exhibition Organization, 845 Third Ave.. 19th fl„ New 
York. NY 10022; (2 12) 750-8899; fax: (2 12) 688-8085. 

MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL. Aug. 23-Sept. 
3. Canada. Huge competitive EFFPA-recognized fest, 
now in 14th yr, w/ audiences reported at 280.000 in 
1989. Over 250 films from 50 countries shown in 
various sections: Official Competition, Hors Concours 
(out of competition) Section. Special Sections, Cinema 
of Today & Tomorrow (new trends), Panorama Canada, 
TV films. & Tributes. New prize initiated last yr is 
SC50.000 Pnx de Jeune Espoir for 1 st or 2nd feature. All 
films shown in central locations in close proximity. 
Concurrent Int'l Film, TV & Video Market, w/500 reg- 
istrants repping 200 cos. & gov't agencies. Features & 
shorts accepted. No entry fee. Formats: 70mm, 35mm, 
1 6mm. 3/4". Deadline: July 1 5. Contact: Serge Losique, 
Montreal World Film Festival, 1455 de Maisonneuve 
Blvd. West. Suite H-109. Montreal. Quebec H3G 1M8; 
tel: (514) 848-3883: fax: (514) 848-3886: telex: 05- 
25472 WOFTLMFEST. 

MYSTFEST INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY FILM 

FESTIVAL. June 29-July 6, Italy. Mystery, thriller, 
horror, crime, black comedy & spy films welcome at 
11th edition of Mystfest. held in Cattolica. Sections: 
Competitive official section for 35mm recently-produced 
films, noncompetitive section for 35 & 16mm works, 
info, section, retrospective. Entries must be Italian pre- 
mieres; competitive selections cannot have received 
prizes in other competitive int'l fests. Aw ards: best film, 
best leading actor/actress, special citation award for best 
original story. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: May 
3 1 . Contact: Girogio Gosetti, Mystfest. Via dei Coronari, 
44. 00186 Rome. Italy: tel: (06) 6544152; fax: (06) 
6867902; telex: 623092 imago I. 

NOVA GORICA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL ON 
SPORTS AND TOURIST FILMS, Sept. 24-28, Yugo- 
slavia. 13th yr of biennial competitive fest. offering 
prizes to films & videos dealing w/ sports & tourism in 
cats: docs, educational, short feature & spots 
( noncompetitive in 1 990 ). Entries must be under 60 min. 
& completed since Aug. 1988. Awards: Golden Triglav 
(Grand Prix); Silver Triglav. Bronze Triglav, ICSPE- 
L'NESCO Prize (work most successfully showing 
connection btwn sport & tourism): CIDALC (work w/ 
greatest human & cultural values): Pierre de Coubertin 
Prize (work expressing highest sporting spirit & dedi- 
cation to sport). Prizes also for best direction, screenplay/ 
commentary, camera, editing. Held in Nova Gorica. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



near Yugolsav-Italian border. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", 1/2". Deadline: June 10. Contact: Interfilm Festival, 
Vrhovceva 8a, YU-61000 Ljubljana, Yugoslavia: tel/ 
fax:(061)317340. 

OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL, 

Oct. 3-7, Canada. Biannual, competitive fest for animated 
works. No entry fee. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", Beta, 70mm, 
35mm, 16mm. Deadline: July 20. Contact: Tom Knott, 
Ottawa Int'l Animation Festival, 2 Daly Ave., Ottawa, 
Ontario, Canada KIN 6E2; (613) 232-6727; fax: (613) 
232-6315; telex: 0636 7004 74. 

RIMINICINEMA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

Sept. 22-24, Italy. Relationships & exchanges btwn 
different cultures form focus of competitive event, which 
programs "multinational melange of movies: marginal 
films, Third World entries & midnight cult items" 
(Variety). Accepts features, shorts, doc features & video 
productions. Sections: Competition (for Italian 
premieres), Monograph, One Artist Show, Events, Meet- 
ings. No entry fee. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", 
Beta. Deadline: June 30. Contact: Gianfranco Miro Go- 
ri, Riminicinema Mostra Intemazionale, v. Gambalun- 
ga 27, 47037 Rimini, Italy; tel: (0541 ) 704301/704308; 
fax: (0561) 70441 1; telex: 563170 COMRIM 1. 

TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL FILM EXHIBITION, Nov. 
10-30, Taiwan. Noncompetitive exhibition, organized 
to "promote mutual understanding btwn East & West." 
Taiwan premieres preferred. Accepts features, shorts, 
docs, experimental & animated works. No entry fee. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: June 15. Contact: 
Ray Jiing.dir. of film library, Taipei Int'l Film Exhibition, 
4F, No. 7 Ching-Tao East Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, ROC; 
tel: (02) 3924243-4; fax: (02) 3926359; telex: 11636 
INFORM. 



TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL/ 
FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS, Sept. 6-15, Canada. One of 
N. America's largest noncompetitive film fests, both in 
number of films screened (over 300 from 38 countries), 
audience numbers (over 270,000) & accredited press 
(over 500). Toronto is major event on int'l fest circuit, 
programming premieres & films from other int'l fests. 
Programs run at 10 cinemas. Gala Evenings feature 
Canadian, N. American & world premieres of major 
releases & Special Presentations showcase world or N. 
American premieres of other features. Contemporary 
World Cinema section, fest's most prestigious category, 
ranges over new cinema from most countries. Other cats 
incl. Perspective Canada, New Cinema, National Cinema, 
Archival Programme & Spotlight. Short films by Cana- 
dian filmmakers only. Fest now in 15th yr. Concurrent 
Toronto Trade Forum w/ 1200 participants features 
keynote addresses, workshops on current industry 
production & distribution issues. No entry fee. Formats: 
70mm, 35mm, 16mm; preview on cassette. Deadline: 
July 13. Contact: Helga Stephenson, Toronto Int'l Film 
Festival, 70 Carlton St., Toronto, Ontario M5B 1L7, 
Canada; tel: (416)967-7371; fax: (416)967-9477; telex: 
06 219724. 



TURIN INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FILM FESTI- 
VAL/CINEMA<aOVANI,Nov. 9-17,!taIy.ExceilefiL 
growing intl competitive showcase for new, young 
ind. directors & filmmaking trends, aow in 8th yr. 
Held in Torino in northern Italy's Piedmont region, 
US liaison Michael Solomon works w/ FFVF to 
preselect entries for several sections. Int'l 
Competition for Feature Films; 35mm & 16mm 
works by young filmmakers that are Italian premieres 
completed after Sept 1, 1989. Short Film Com- 



petition; films up to 30 min. Int'l Review; films not 
in competition that have been screened or received 
awards at other fests, important premieres, works by 
well-known filmmakers. Italian Space-Competition: 
unreleased Italian films, videos & super 8s by 
"young" filmmakers w/no age limit, up to 60 min. 
Turin Space: films, videos & super 8 films by direc- 
tors bom or resident in Piedmont region. Retro: 
Japanese filmmaking in the 1960s. Special Events: 
short retros, screenings of up & coming directors' 
works, reviews of significant moments in ind. 
filmmaking. Awards: Best feature film (Lire 
20,000,000); best short film (Lire 3,000,000), Italian 
Space (Lire 1,000,000 to 3,000,000). Addt'l awards 
may incl. special jury awards & special mentions. 
This yr's jury: Nanni Moretfi, Sergej Bodrov, Chen 
Kaige, Alexandre Rockwell & Virginie Thevenet 
(features) & Thrassyvoulos Giatsos, Kate Ogbora, 
\ Paolo Veccni (short & medium-length films). 
i Enthusiasticaudiencesreached35,0001astyr,w/22 
j nations represented & 165 journalists accredited to 
| fest. About 300 films shown during event. Entry fee: 
; $ 10, payable to Cross Productions. Formats: 35mm, 
| 1 6mm only; preview on cassette. Deadline: July 3 1 . 
I Contact: Michael Solomon, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
j 9th fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-3400 or 
; (212)941-8389. 

VIPER INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL, October, Switzerland. Largest fest in Switzerland 
for ind. & experimental work. Format: 3/4", 1/2", 16mm. 
Entry fee: $10 (incl. SASE for return of tape). Deadline: 
June 15. Contact: Jiirgen Bruning, Hallwalls, 700 Main 
St., Buffalo, NY 14202; (716) 854-5828. 



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MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 37 



CLASSIFIEDS 



Buy ■ Rent ■ Sell 



K>k S U.E. Industrial camera/recorder JVC KY-2000 
color camera. CR -44001 34 portable reorder: $2500 
or BO. Also, editing system: J\ (.' RM-SNl controller. 
JVC 66sK>L A S2001 recorders $2500 or BO. Doug 
Hart (718)937-7250 

Hf I U vvH'M,H>Ks\UlkegamiHL79EALcarnera. 
Sooj BVW-2S recorder, color monitor. B/W monitor, 
batteries, chargers, power supply, cables, shipping & 
soft cases. Call (914) 238-8895. 

vn v\ 1 ED: CP. Am. Aaton. Angemeux. Cooke. Zeiss. 
0"Connor. Miller. Sachtler. Steadicam. Nagra. Call for 
current equipment list, lens & camera repair, free lens 
evaluation, new & used equipment needs, rentals. 
Whitehouse A/V (805) 498-4177. 

FOR SALE: 16mm 6-plate Cinemonta (Steenbeck 
configuration! S4500. Sonerex 16mm double system 
projector also good for center & edge track dubs. $500. 
Rivas splicers. Moviola \iewer. 4-gang motorized 
synchro, squakbox. bins. Call (212) 807-0966. 

FOR SALE: GSMO pro 16mm coaxial camera. 2 
magazines, finder, very sharp 12-120 Ang. lens. hood, 
filters, battenes. chargers, hard case, less than 5k footage 
thru camera, perfect: S6.000. (213) 828-5063. 

FOR SALE: Ikegami HL 79E. Mint condition, many 
extras including soft & hard carrying cases. J-Lab & 
cords. Century 2-piece wide angle (203) 226-5289. 

TRD3ECAHlDSONST..airy, 1750sq.ft. 1 st time offered/ 
owner. Beautiful so. lt./9 new windows/ 10' ceilings. 2 
bdrm. 1 bth. large EIK. wsh/dry . AC. darkroom, newly 
painted. Maim. S446. S375K: (203) 226-8659. 

SONY PCM-1 A-D-mterface (2). S350ea. Tascam ATR60 
1/2" 8-trk. New w/cards: S4.000. Crown SX822 1/4" 2- 
trk. mint: S500. Technics 10A02 2-trk: S800. AKG 45 1 
w / CK 1 . CK8: $500. AKG D 1 2- 1 50. Beyer 1 60: $200. 
Lamb mixer PLM422 w/ LPS10-24A: S200. Tascam 5 
w/ anvil case: S200. Victor (212) 732^587. 

FOR SALE: Macintosh/1900 receiver: S350. Crown 
VFX crossover: $225. Ashly SC68-notch filter: $150. 
Ashly SC-55 compression limiter: S 1 50. Buren dynamic 
noise filter: S100. Audio wireless mike (old model) 
170.3: S300. Call Victor (212) 732-4587. 

ECLAIR NPR w/ Angenieux orientable view-finder. (2) 
Beala crystal motors. (3) 400' mags. (2) Ang. 9.5mm- 
95mm zoom lens. ( 1 ) Ang. 15-1 50mm zoom lens. Anton 
Bauer charger QC-3. (3) Anton Bauer ban. QP. (1) 
Eclair ZAR. sound barney . flight cases, recently rebuilt. 
mint. Total pkg: S7000. (212) 732^587. 

FOR SALE OR RENT: Sony M3A. Canon 15:1 lens. 
VO6800 3/4" portable deck. Low hours, w/ AC adaptor. 
8 batteries, charger. Quickset fluid tripod & cases. All in 
excellent condition. Call Michael (212) 757-7654. 

VIDEO EQUIPMENT for sale: Sharp DXC-A1 3-tube 
camera w/ 1 2: 1 Fujinon lens: S4.000. Sony 6800 portable 
3/4" deck: S2.500. Sachler 20 tripod w/ quick release 
legs: S2.5O0. Entire package w/ all cables, etc: $8,000. 
Almost new. must sell fast. (212) 463-9426. 

WANTED: 1 1 partner/cobuyer w/ ref. or used Betacam 
SP deck/camera & IKE 79 or better. 2 ) People planning 
to buy HI-8 cameras (for bulk purchase ). For rent/trade: 

1 ) Sony 5850 system, like new . S450/wk in own home. 

2 ) Betacam SPrig: $400/day ortrade forp/t place to stay. 
Gary (212) 768-1600. 



Each entry in the Classifieds column has a 
250 character limit & costs $20 per issue. 
Ads exceeding this length will be edited. 
Payment must be made at the time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. Each 
classified must be typed, double-spaced 
& worded exactly as it should appear. 
Deadlines for Classifieds are the 8th of 
each month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. Make 
check or money order — no cash, please — 
payable to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. 



FOR SALE: 16mm Showcron 8-plate ( 1 pix. 3 sound). 1 
year full factory warranty. S8.000. Contact Bill Stutz. 
Merromega (818) 350-8332. 

Freelancers 

BETACAM PACKAGE w/ tripod, lights, mics. award- 
winning cameraman, crew & transportation, avail, for 
your project at great rates. Fast & reliable. Broadcast 
quality. Call Eric (718) 389-7104. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w /feature (4). doc & commercial 
credits avail, for film or video projects of any length. 
Personable, w/ strong visual sense & excellent lighting. 
Own equipment, at a reasonable rate you can afford. Call 
for demo: Eric (718) 389-7104. 

BETACAM SP packages available: New BVW-507 (w/ 
700-line resolution): B VW-505 also avail. Your choice 
of field production package comes w/ award-winning 
videographer. Toyota 4-Runner & competitive rates. 
Call Hal at (201) 662-7526. 

AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

looking for interesting projects. Owner of super 16 
capable full Aaton package. Paul (212) 475-1947. 

AWARD-WINNING CAMERAMAN w/ 16mm ACL II 

8fps-75fps w/ video looking for challenging projects. 
Partial client list incl: ABC Sports. ESPN. IBM. LIRR. 
Pitney Bowes. Complete crews avail., incl. sound 
recorder & grip truck. Reasonable rates. Mike (718) 
352-1287. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER with Arri 16SR and lighting 
package: $750/day. 10 years experience. Major awards. 
Excellent credits, including Smithsonian, National 
Geographic, 20/20. Call Len McClure at (301) 299- 
7893. 

SHOOTING IN ASIA? See ad just above this one for 
cameraman w/ years experience in Asia. Shot more than 
20 films in China. Japan. Singapore. Hong Kong. etc. 



Lots of valuable contacts to help you. Call Len McClure 
at (30 1)299-7893. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for new 
documentary or dramatic projects. 1 1 years experience. 
35mm. 16mm. and broadcast video. Richard Chisolm 
(301)467-2997. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/OPERATOR w/ fea- 
ture film (5) credits. Self-owned 35mm, 16mm. Film 
cameras (w/ videotape). 50 kilowatt lighting/power/ 
grip pkg. sync sound/video recording/playback system. 
Lowest rates in Tri-State! (201) 798-8467. 

AATON PKG w/ assistant camera. 3 mags, Cooke 9-50, 
Ang. 1 2- 1 20, Zeiss 8, 2 bans, eye piece X, zoom motor, 
Sachtler Video 20. Hi-hat. bamey , filters, crystal 24, 25, 
29.97 fps. I am accurate, fast & experienced w/doc, rock 
video & feature prod. Sam (718) 636-5061. 

SOUNDMAN w/ audio gear & good attitude available for 
film & video prods. Call for resume and rates. Claudio 
(212)664-8009. 

ORIGINAL SCORE for your film or video. Experienced, 
reliable, stylistically flexible. Full SMPTE lockup for 
frame accuracy cueing in video. B.A. in traditional 
composition from Berklee College of Music. 1984. Call 
(718)383-6109. 

ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER available to film 
community to draft/negotiate/review contracts, handle 
legal matters, assist in financing. Reasonable fees (718) 
454-7044. 

PBS CREDITED cameraman with Sony DXC 3000 
camera & deck. Seinheiser sound, broadcast package. 
$250. Call for weekly rates. John (212) 475-6550. 

SCREENPLAYS NEEDED FOR DEVELOPMENT. If your 

script demonstrates keen insight into human behavior 
and interpersonal communications and is intelligent and 
witty, please send it w/ SASE to: Momentum Com- 
munications. Box 824. Mamaroneck. NY 10538. 

TAPESTRY INTERNATIONAL currently acquiring 
independently produced drama, fiction & docs in 1/2-hr, 
hr & feature-lengths for foreign & domestic TV distrib. 
Contact: Mary Boss, dir. acquisitions or Nancy Walzo. 
vice president. 924 Broadway. New York. NY 10010: 
(212) 677-6007. 

NETWORK CREDITED director, videographer w/ Sony 
broadcast 3/4" SP & Beta pkgs starting at $250/day. 
Also super VHS camcorder rental. Other services incl. 
directing. Time Code striping, window dubs & original 
music scoring. Michael. MI-RO Productions (21 2) 757- 
7654. 

STOCK FOOTAGE RESEARCH: specializing in his- 
torical & public domain footage in Washington. D.C. 
Also research audio & stills, provide fact-checking 
services & production research for feature films. Susan 
Hormuth. 1400 C St. NE, Washington. D.C. 20002; 
(202) 398-3227. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER to work in independent films. 
Vincent (718) 729-7481. Reel upon request. Long Live 
Independence! 

SCREENPLAY DOCTOR: Professional consultant & 
story analyst for major studios will analyze your 
screenplay or treatment at reasonable rates. Specializing 
in indie/an films. (212) 219-9224. 

WRITER: Working pro available. Business writer, 
scriptwriting. journalism experience. Former staff 
production manager. Can supply narrations, complete 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

• Comprehensive health, disability, life, and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• Festival Bureau: your inside track to over 400 international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy in government, industry, and public forums to increase support for independent production 

• Seminars on business, technical, and aesthetic issues 

• Discounts on professional services, including car rental, film labs, post-production facilities & equipment rental 
AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film and Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine 
tailored to your needs (10 issues per year) 




diversified catalogue 

of information for 

all your film 

and video 

needs. 



wealth of information is now available 
to you through AIVF by mail or in 
person. Our book/tape list covers practically every facet of the field. 
Subjects covered are production, fundraising, legal, screenwriting, 
technical, super 8, lighting, audio, public tv, cable, video, copyright, dis- 
tribution, political and more. 



Complete the other side of this card and 
mail to AIVF to receive a complete list of 
books and tapes available or call us at 
212-473-3400. 



k \>/fi bl>/ 



7 



A; 



■ 

■ 






^B 



I ■ ^H ■ 



Help Yourself. 



j 



Name 



oin AIVF Today and Get a One- Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

$45/year individual (in US & Puerto Rico) 
(Add $12 for first class mailing) 

$25/year student (encl: proof of student ID) 

LJ $60/year library (subscription only) 

I I $85/year organization 

I I $60/year foreign (outside US, Canada & 

Mexico), surface rate 
n ## (Add # $1J5 m f or f oreign air mail) 



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OR: Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
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lease send me the latest copy 
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concepts. Documentaries, industrials, music videos, etc. 
No treatments or grant proposals, please. Timothy Dowd 
(718)624-4721. 

COPRODUCER WANTED by award-winning prod. co. 
to help produce TV benefit for environmental movement 
& series on politically courageous people. No exp. 
necessary. Salary neg. & possible housing, use of b'cast 
equipment. Letter & resume to: Ideal, 10266th Ave., NY, 
NY 100 18; (2 12) 768- 1600. 

SHOOTING IN WASHINGTON D.C.? We'll meet you w/ 
an experienced, fully credentialed crew or produce from 
your script. Sony bdcst 3/4" SP or Betaca, SP pkg, 8 
lights, 5 mics. News/doc/interviews in several languages. 
Good rates. Lots of happy clients. Accent Media. (703) 
356-9427. 

COLLABORATOR WANTED for comedy feature 
screenplay. Kevin, 603 Berkley, Elmhurst, IL 60126- 
4230. 

16MM PRODUCTION PKG from $150/day. Complete 
camera, lighting & sound equip, avail, w/ asst. & transport 
to location. (CP16 crystal, fluid head, Lowels, sungun, 
Nagra, radio mikes & more.) Postprod. also avail. 
Negotiable rates. Tom (201) 692-9850. 

THE "DOC" DOC: Writer/producer/director of over a 
dozen internationally broadcast docs, ACE winner 1 988, 
can help the health of your show, from routine check-up 
to miracle cures. Burrill Crohn (212) 242-6808. Also: 
confortable off-line room w/or w/o my top-notch editor. 

Postproduction 

BOB BRODSKY & TONI TREADWAY: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering w/ scene-by-scene color 
correction to 1", Betacam & 3/4". By appointment only. 
Call (617) 666-3372. 

NEGATIVE MATCHING: 1 6mm, super 1 6, 35mm. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch, Chris Choy , Renee Tajima, Bruce 
Weber & Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at reasonable 
rates. One White Glove, Tim Brennan, 321 W. 44th St., 
#411, New York, NY 10036; (212) 265-0787. 

TOTAL SUPER 8 SOUND film services. All S/8 pro- 
duction, postprod., editing, sync sound, sound mix, multi- 
track, single & double system sound editing, transfers, 
stills, etc. Send SASE for rate sheet or call Bill Creston, 
727 6th Ave., NY, NY 10010; (212) 924-4893. 

BETACAM OR 3/4" SP location shooting as low as $300/ 
day. Betacam & 3/4" SP to 3/4" SP editing w/ editor from 
$35/hr. Vega wireless mic. & Motorola MX-350 rental as 
low as $30/day. Call Michael at Electronic Visions (212) 
691-0375. 

SOUND TRANSFERS: Convenient downtown location, 
FX library, digital sampling, transfers to & from 16/ 
35mm, 1/4" mono & stereo (w/ SMPTE), cassette, CD, 
DAT & mini Nagra SN. Best rates (212) 255-8698. 

16MM FLATBEDS FOR RENT: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your workspace or fully equipped downtown editing 
room w/ 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in NYC for 
independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions 
(212)873-4470. 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways and Canal St. Reasonable, 
negotiable rates. (212) 925-1500. 

SUPER 8 24 fps transfers : scene-by-scene color correction 
w/ CCD telecine, Sony color corrector w/ hue, phase, 



gamma comp, neg-pos reverse, b&w tinting, 
letterboxing & Dolby stereo. Beautiful results @ 1 le7 
foot to Sony Pro-X 1/2" VHS. $35/min + stock. Gerard 
Yates (203) 359-8992. 

16MM EDITING ROOM & OFFICE space for rent in 
suite of indies. Fully equipped w/ 6-plate Steenbeck & 
24-hr access. All windowed & new carpet. Located at 
W. 24th St. & 7th Ave. Reasonable rates. Call Jeff at 
Film Partners (212) 714-2313. 

FOR RENT: 3/4" off-line editing room (brand new 
Sony 5850, 5800, RM440). Very reasonable rates, 
convenient midtown location in suite w/ other 
filmmakers. Xerox & fax available. Call Jane at (212) 
929-4795 or Deborah at 226-2579. 

UPTOWN EDIT: fully equipped 16mm editing rooms 
with 6-plate and 8-plate Steenbecks. 24-hour access. 



Best rates in town, student discounts. West 86th Street, 
(212) 580-2075. 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING: Edit from Betacam, 
3/4" or 3/4" SP. $99/hr including operator, switcher, slo- 
mo. 50% discount on DVE for AIVF members. Call 
HDTV Enterprises, Inc., near Lincoln Center (2 1 2)874- 
4524. 

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS: Brand new Sony 3/4" off-line 
edit system with RM 450 controller available for rental. 
Reasonable daily/weekly rates w/ or w/o editor. (718) 
875-1512. 

FOR RENT: 3/4" A/B editing suite. Freeze frame TBC, 
CMX list management, character generator, digital 
effects, Time Code, window dubs. $60/hr w/ editor. 
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• Producing documentaries, features, and news segments for 
television. 

• Producing and coordinating U.S. -Japan teleconferences via satellite. 

• Producing corporate videos and product promotions for Japanese 
market. 

• Arranging crews, equipment leasing, and bi-lingual coordinators 
in Japan. 

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THE INDEPENDENT 39 





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Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The Inde- 
pendent reserves the right to edit for 
length. Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the month, 
two months prior to cover date, e.g., May 
8 for the July issue. Send to: Independent 
Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10012. 

Conferences ■ Workshops 

CALL FOR PAPERS for Society of Motion Picture & 
Television Engineers (SMPTE) Technical Conference 
on October 13-17. Completed author's form & 500- 
word synopsis due June 15. Theme of conference is Film 
and Television: One World? Presentation time is 20 
min. For author forms, contact: Marilyn Waldman, 
program coord., 595 W. Hartsdale Ave., White Plains. 
NY 10607; (914) 761-1 100. 

FIL.M/YIDEO ARTS Courses & Workshops: Independent 
TV Service, May 14; Prod. Mgmt. II, May 10-June 28; 
Grantw ruing. May 5 & 12; Video Cameras II. May 19 
& 20; On-Line Editing w/ Standby. May 7: Digital 
Effects Overview. May 26 & 27; Creating Amiga Titles 
for Video II, May 8 & 1 5 . Contact: F/V A, 8 1 7 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MEDIA ARTS CENTERS 

1 0th Anniversary Conf.. The Unblinking Eye: Affecting 
Change in The 90's, May 17-20, Boston, MA. Pre- 
registration: S125/S75 members; on-site: S150/S100 
members. Day rate: S40/S30 members. Subject to 
availability. Conf. limited to 300 regs. Contact: Bridget 
Murnane. ICA; (617) 266-5152. 

PRODUCER SELF-HELP GROUP forming for exper- 
ienced public affairs-oriented producers to help each 
other find funding sources, trade equipment, locate in- 
kind donations, live part-time in the country, manage 
help better, etc. Call Gary (212) 768-1600. 

PRODUCERS MARKETPLACE, held in conjunction w/ 

Nat'l Educational Film & Video Fest. runs May 23-28. 
Premiere show case of new ind. docs & educational films 
& tapes. Also scheduled are seminars on Demystifying 
Interactive Media. The New Generation of Media Magi- 
cians. Wheeling & Dealing: How To Find. Select & Do 
Business with a Distributor. Distribution Nuts & Bolts, 
as well as symposium Looking Forw ard. Looking Back. 
Registration is first-come, first-served. S35/seminar: 
S 10 discount to AIVF members. For info., contact: Nat'l 
Educational Film & Video Festival, 3 1 4 E. 1 0th St. . Rm 
205. Oakland, CA 94606; (415) 465-6885. 

YELLOWSTONE MEDIA ARTS 1990 Summer Work- 
shops: June 1 1-July 13. Series of 1 & 2-wk workshops 
w/ lectures, discussions, exercises & screenings, incl. 
Soviet Cinema & TV. Native Amer. FilmA'ideo. 



Women's Fact/Women's Fiction, Script Writing, 
Directing & Animation. Contact: Paul Monaco, Dept. of 
Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, 
MT 59717; (406) 994-6224. 

Films ■ Tapes Wanted 

FOOTAGE SOUGHT for doc on Noam Chomsky. 
Looking for film or video from 1960s & '70s. Contact: 
Necessary Illusions, 437 1 Esplanade, Montreal, Quebec 
H2W 1T2; (514) 283-9476; fax: (514) 283-5487. 

INDEPENDENT IMAGES competition open to ind. 
producers from PA, DE & NJ w/ works completed since 
Jan. 1. 1988. Formats: 16mm. 3/4", 1/2". All genres 
welcome. Works to be broadcast on WHYY-TV12. 
Philadelphia. $14/min. for works over 5 min. & $75 flat 
fee for works under 5 min.. plus limited amount of 
postprod. time for video needing fine-cut editing. Appl. 
deadline: May 18. Contact: Independent Images, 
WHYY-TV12, 150 North Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 
19106, arm: Lisa Mane Russo; (215) 351-1200. 

UMBRELLA FILMS seeks distribution rights for films & 
videos on environmental policy issues. Contact: Umbrella 
Films, 60 Blake Rd., Brookline, MA 02146; (617) 277- 
6639. 

Opportunities ■ Gigs 

POSITIONS AVAD.ABLE for video editor/instructor, 
video artist/instructor & video prod. asst. for homeless 
youth & youth-at-risk program. Mature, skilled, capable 
artists w/ ability to create & complete exciting projects 
forteens. Pan-time paid positions. Resumes to: Sidewalks 
of New York Prods., 40 W. 27th St.. New York, NY 
10001. 

VISITING LECTURESHIP offered by Cinema Dept.. 
San Francisco State Univ. for spring semester 1991. 
Visiting scholar will teach graduate seminar m advanced 
film theory & 2 undergrad. lecture-discussion courses. 
Salary & rank based on qualifications. Send statement of 
interest, resume or vitae & sample of creative work or 
publication by Oct. 30 to: Chair. Dept. of Cinema, San 
Francisco State Univ., 1600 Holloway Ave., San Fran- 
cisco. C A 94132. 

Publications 

DANCE ON CAMERA NEWS, bimonthly newsletter by 
Dance Films Assoc., features info & listings related to 
dance film & video. S15 subsenption incl. membership 
privileges. Contact: Dance on Camera News, 1133 
Broadway, New York, NY 10010; (212) 727-0764. 

FOUNDATION DIRECTORY, 12th ed., lists over 6.600 

independent, corporate & community foundations. S 1 50 
hardbound; S 1 25 paperbound. plus S2 shipping & hand- 
ling. Contact: Foundation Center. 79 Fifth Ave., Dept. 
JF. New York, NY 10003; (800) 424-9836; (212) 620- 
4230. 

QUEER LOOKS: Perspectives on Lesbian & Gay Exper- 
imental Media, critical anthology exploring explosion 
of lesbian & gay expenmental media during past two 
decades, seeks contributors. Will incl. artists texts, critical 
texts, business articles, field repons. Scheduled for 
publication in fall 1991, by Toronto-based publisher 
Between the Lines. Contact: John Greyson/Kobena Mer- 
cer/Martha Gever. c/o Between the Lines. 394 Euclid 
Ave., Toronto. Canada M6G 2S9; fax: (416) 324-8268. 

WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA Directory oflnforma- 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



tional Writers now avail. Lists over 300 Guild members 
who write for educational media companies, ad agencies, 
corporations & US gov't. Contact: WGA East, Attn: 
Informational Directory, 555 W. 57th St., New York, NY 
10019, or WGA West, Attn: Informational Directory, 
8955 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048. 

Resources ■ Funds 

CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING Open 
Solicitation for TV Program Fund deadline: Sept. 14. 
Contact: CPB TV Program Fund, 1111-1 6th St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955-5134. 

DON & GEE NICHOLL FELLOWSHIPS IN SCREEN- 
WRITING avail, from Academy Foundation. Up to 5 1 -yr. 
fellowships of $20,000 ea. offered to new screenwriters 
who have not sold or worked professionally on a screenplay 
orteleplay. Fellows expected to complete a feature-length 
screenplay during fellowship yr. Appl. deadline: June 1, 
1990. Contact: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & 
Sciences, Nicholl Fellowships, Dept. G, 8949 Wilshire 
Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 9021 1-1972. 

FILM ARTS FOUNDATION grants program will award 1 9 
grants totaling $5 1 ,000 to ind. film- & videomakers in 10- 
county Bay Area. 3 categories: short, personal works; 
project development; completion/distribution. Deadline: 
May 1 1 . For guidelines & appl., send SASE to: FAF, 346 
Ninth St., 2nd fl., San Francisco, CA 94103. 

FILM BUREAU offers financial assistance for film rentals 
& speaker fees to nonprofit community orgs in NYS. 
Priority given to ind. filmmakers and/or films not ordinarily 
avail, to the community. Deadlines: June 15 & Aug. 15. 
Contact: Film Bureau, Film/Video Arts, 817 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-9361. 

FULBRIGHT FELLOWSHIP IN FILM & TV avail, for 
1991-92. Applicants must have min. 3 yrs. professional 
exp., open to any area of professional film & TV. 
Appropriate for emerging or mid-career applicants outside 
academia. Fixed grant of about £10,000 for 9-month 
period in UK w/ transatlantic air travel for grantee only. 
Start date flexible, beginning approx. Sept. 1 99 1 . Deadline: 
Aug. 1 . Contact: CIES. Box UKF, 3400 International Dr., 
NW, Ste. M-500, Washington, DC 20008; (202) 686- 
7878. 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES 

deadline for 6 to 1 2-month study & research Fellowships: 
June 12 for 1991-92 awards. For info & appl., contact: 
Division of Fellowships and Seminars, Rm 316, NEH, 
1 100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20506. 

PAUL ROBESON FUND for Film & Video's usual deadline 
for appl. has been changed. The new deadline is October 
1 . Call or write after June 30 for appl. & guidelines. Paul 
Robeson Fund, 666 Broadway, Rm 500, New York, NY 
10012; (212) 529-5300. 

PENNSYLVANIA HUMANITIES COUNCIL supports 
public humanities projects. Preliminary drafts of proposals 
recommended 6-8 wks before deadline. Deadline: Oct. 1 , 
1990. Contact: Philadelphia Independent Film/Video 
Assn., 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104. 

REGIONAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM administered by 
Center for New Television awarding $69,500 to film and 
video artists in IL, IN, MI, and OH. Purpose of grants of 
up to $5000 is to enable ind. film/videomakers to take a 
personally conceived production to next stage of 
completion. Deadline: May 25. Appl. avail, from: Center 
for New Television, 912 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 
60605; (312) 427-5446. 







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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 



Huot. Anne Hyvarinen. Carolyn Jacobs, Mary Lance, 
Stephen Laughlin, Parker Lindner. Michael Lucas, Nancy 
Meyer, Robert Richter, Alfred Santana, Gabriele Seidl, 
Joan Shigekawa. Draper Shreeve, David Anthony Silver. 
Helena Solberg Ladd, Robert Spencer, Dyanna Taylor. 
William Tumley, and Marc Weiss. 

It's not too late to show your support. The AIVF 
Advocacy Committee relies on your assistance to 
help cover the phone, fax, and mailing costs in- 
volved in lobbying Congress on this vital issue. 
Send a check to the AIVF Emergency Fund for 
Free Expression, c/o AIVF. 

AIVF REGIONAL 
CORRESPONDENTS 

AIVF has a network of regional correspondents 
who can provide membership information, hold 
meetings, and aid recruitment in areas of the coun- 
try outside New York City. AIVF members are 
urged to contact them about AIVF-related needs 
and problems, your activities, and other relevant 
information and news: 

Howard Aaron. Northwest Film and Video Ctr., 1219 
S.W. Park Ave.. Portland. OR 97205; (503) 221-1 156 

Joyce Bolinger. 3755 N. Bosworth St.. Chicago. IL 
60613; (312) 929-7058 

Cheryl Chisolm. 2844 Engle Road. NW. Atlanta. GA 
30318: (404) 792-2167 

Dee Davis. Appalshop. 306 Whitesburg. KY 41858; 
(606)633-0108 

Loni Ding. 2335 Jones St., San Francisco, CA 94133; 
(415)474-5132:673-6428 

Dai Sil Kim-Gibson. 1752 17th St.. NW, Washington, 
DC 20009: (202) 232-6912 

Deanna Morse. School of Communication. Grand Valley 
State Univ.. Allendale. MI 49401; (616) 895-3101 

Lourdes Portillo. 98 1 Esmeralda St.. San Francisco. CA 
94110; (415) 824-5850 

Bart Weiss. 1 6 1 1 Rio Vista Dr. , Dallas, TX 75208; (2 1 4) 
948-7300 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF). the foundation affiliate of the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers (ATVF), sup- 
ports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including publi- 
cation of The Independent, maintenance of the Festi- 
val Bureau, seminars and workshops, an information 
clearinghouse, and a grant making program. None of 
this work would be possible without the generous 
support of the following agencies, foundations and 
organizations: The New York State Council on the 
Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal 
agency, the John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur 
Fund, the Beldon Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, 
the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the 
Benton Foundation, and the Funding Exchange. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1990 



PROGRAM NOTES 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 



the Commonwealth, a grassroots group challeng- 
ing strip-mining operations. Despite pressure from 
coal companies to prevent broadcast, the docu- 
mentary aired on television and went on to win the 
Dupont-Columbia Award for excellence in broad- 
cast journalism and is in videocassette distribu- 
tion through Appalshop. 

Partnerships sometimes grow out of commis- 
sioned work. David L. Brown, for example, was 
engaged by the Abalone Alliance to produce a 20- 
minute videotape for the movement to stop the 
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Using this 
material, Brown then made a longer documentary 
on the subject, A Question of Power, which was 
broadcast on PBS. While the footage is jointly 
owned. Brown owns and distributes the longer 
tape. 

Another kind of relationship takes shape when 
a nonprofit organization in need of an outreach 
tape seeks out a producer. An example of this is a 
joint project of the Connecticut Coalition Against 
Family Violence and Longbow Films. A working 
committee from both groups has developed a 
proposal for a film that will serve the needs of the 
Coalition and will have wider distribution, as 
well. 

Some producers see media production as an 



intrinsic part of the organizing task. Chris Bedford 
of the Organizing Media Project works with 
advocacy groups who use media as part of a 
strategy for social change. He produced Locked 
Out, a 52-minute tape about the BASF Corpora- 
tion which shows connections between worker 
interests and community interests. It is shown by 
the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union in 
communities where the company is attempting to 
locate. In Bedford's view, the producer is an 
essential player in the process of developing strate- 
gies that include video. 

The Public Interest Video Network (PIVN) 
also plans its projects with end-use in mind. 
According to producer Arlen Slobodow, PIVN 
assembles an advisory team at the start of each 
project to serve both as a source of expert advice 
and to provide links to the groups that will use the 
finished work. In the case of Your Water, Your 
Life, the advisory group included grassroots envi- 
ronmental organizations who reviewed the script 
and rough cuts and took an active role in dissemi- 
nation. 

The W. Alton Jones Foundation, one of the 
funders of Your Water, Your Life, finds this a par- 
ticularly successful example of the kind of col- 
laborative work they require, pointing to the ex- 
tensive distribution and many local showings the 
tape has had. Increasingly, foundations require 
film/videomakers to consider their audiences and 



describe distribution plans. By and large, this has 
been taken to mean public television and cable 
broadcast, nontheatrical distribution, and com- 
munity screenings. Some organizations, however, 
are experimenting with videocassette distribu- 
tion, and this might offer independents a vast new 
opportunity for distribution. 

The Better World Society offers its members a 
home video library, consisting of programs broad- 
cast on PBS and cable for which the Society has 
negotiated home video rights. The Farmworkers 
Union distributed 200,000 videocassettes to pro- 
mote support of its California table grapes boy- 
cott. These are just two of scores of nonprofits 
experimenting with video outreach. 

While videocassette duplication is very inex- 
pensive, the economics of producing and market- 
ing video in these venues is a big question. Who 
really are the audiences for this work, and how to 
grab their attention? How can diverse voices and 
high quality work be assured? And, of course, 
where will the funding come from? 

Historically, independent production — particu- 
larly of documentary and social issue media — has 
had strong links with constituency-based organi- 
zations. The FIVF study suggests that this is a 
moment to reexamine and strengthen those links 
in light of the changing technological and political 
context of the 1990s. 



Now available! 

The AIVF Membership 
Directory 

An indispensable guide to the independent media field, 

providing contact information on over 4000 AIVF individual 

and organizational members nationwide. 



Names, addresses, telephone 
numbers, personal/professional 
statements 

Regionally organized 

Skills indexed by region 



Send check or money order or charge to 
your Mastercard/VISA by phone. 

AIVF Publications 

625 Broadway, 9th Floor 
New York, NY 1001 2 
(212)473-3400 



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Call or write: 

625 Broadway, 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 

(212)473-3400 



The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers 



MAY 1990 



THE INDEPENDENT 43 



MEMORANDA 



AIVF LOBBIES AGAINST NEA 
CONTENT RESTRICTIONS 

On Capitol Hill, debate over the fate of the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts (NEA), currently 
undergoing reauthorization by Congress and tar- 
geted for attack by conservative legislators, has 
thus far been contained within the congressional 
subcommittees that have jurisdiction over the NEA. 
In June, however, a reauthorization bill is sched- 
uled to hit the Senate and House floors for debate. 
It's at this stage that opponents of federal arts 
funding are expected to introduce language pro- 
hibiting the funding of "obscene" art and, at the 
extreme, to try to abolish federal funding of the arts 
altogether. Although arts advocates gained an im- 
portant ally when President Bush went on record in 
March opposing content-based restrictions on 
NEA-funded artwork, his dedicated support is not 
guaranteed. 

The AIVF Advocacy Committee has been 
meeting biweekly to monitor the reauthorization 
bill's progress and work with other national arts 
organizations in lobbying against content restric- 
tions. AIVF members can help by: 1 ) writing your 
congressional representatives, and 2) paying them 
a personal visit during the Congressional break 
around Memorial Day when they're in their home 
districts. If you need a sample letter or a list of 
talking points, contact: AIVF Advocacy Commit- 
tee, 615 Broadway, 9th fl.. New York, NY 10012; 
(212)473-3400. 

AIVF would like to thank its many members 
who wrote the reauthorization committees and a 
special thanks to those who have contributed fi- 
nancially to our lobbying efforts: 

Ann Alter, Sharon Ballin. Alison Bauman, Whitney 
Blake, David Boehm. Eric Breitbart, Cathy Cook, Kirsten 
Dehner, Helen DeMichiel, Carole Evans, Lisa Faircloth, 
Pablo Frasconi, Susan Goldbetter, David Haas, Robert 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 



UPCOMING FIVF SEMINARS 

HIGH DEFINITION TV 

Friday, May 25, 8pm 

Downtown Community Television (DCTV) 

87 Lafayette St., NY, NY 10013 

AN EVENING WITH LOUIS MASSIAH 

with clips and discussion of Eyes on the Prize 
Monday, June 4, 8pm 
Millennium Film Workshop 
66 East 4th St., NY, NY 10003 

FINISHING FUNDS & THE IMPORTANCE 
OF THE SAMPLE REEL 

Tuesday, June 5, 7:30pm 
Downtown Community Television 
87 Lafayette St., NY, NY 10013 

Cosponsored by FTVF, Women Make Mov- 
ies, and DCTV. 

PLAN AN FIVF SEMINAR 
AIVF members are invited to help plan FIVF' s 
seminar schedule, in or ou t of New York City . 
If you have an idea and are willing to help with 
programming, publicity, and all accompany- 
ing details, call Mary Jane Skalski at FTVF: 
(212)473-3400. 



MEMBERABILIA 

Kudos to AIVF member Robert Epstein, whose 
Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt won an 
Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. 
Also nominated in this category was AIVF mem- 
bers Bill Jersey, for Super Chief: The Life and 
Legacy of Earl Warren. David Petersen's Fine 
Food: Fine Pastries, Open 6 To 9 was a nominee 
in the category of Short Subjects. Congrats all! 

Congratulations to Irit Batsry, recipient of a 
Jerome Foundation New York City Film/Video 
Grant. 

AIVF members nominated for the New York 
Emmy Awards are Jeffrey Weber, "Portrait of 
Desmund Tutu" on South Africa Now, for Out- 
standing News Magazine; Nancy Walzog, Rights 
and Reactions: Lesbian & Gay Rights on Trial, 
for Outstanding Issues Programming; Karen 
Goodman, No Applause, Just Throw Money, for 
Outstanding Arts/Cultural/Historical Program- 
ming; and Alexander Marshall, The Revenge of 
the Sons of the Desert, for Outstanding Event 
Coverage. 

Congrats to Dayna Goldfine and Daniel Geller, 
whose film Isadora Duncan: Movement from the 
Soul received a Gold Award at the Dance of 
Camera Festival. 

Included in Sundance Institute's slate of 
projects, writers, and directors to receive support 
in 1990 are AIVF members Jonathan Wacks, 
producer of Child's Child, and director Gregg 
Araki, for his Totally Screwed Up. Congratula- 
tions. 



CALLING AN ADVERTISER? 

Let them know you found 
them in The Independent. 



PROGRAM NOTES 

BARBARA ABRASH 

PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR/FIVF DONOR-ADVISED 

FUND 



For the past three years, the FIVF Donor-Advised 
Film and Video Fund has provided grants to inde- 
pendent productions on the subjects of peace, 
communications, environmental issues, and social 
change. H-2 Worker, Downwind, Downstream, 
Radio Bikini, Building Bombs, and Roger & Me are 
some of those which have received support. The 
program represents three funders: the Benton 
Foundation, the Beldon Fund and the Edelman 



Family Trust, each of which has a strong interest 
in seeing documentaries in wide distribution. 

Recently the Benton Foundation has been 
studying the distribution of videotapes by non- 
profit organizations. From Amnesty International 
to the United Farmworkers to the Better World 
Society, more and more nonprofit organizations 
are using video to focus attention on issues and 
mobilize action. With their well-developed 
membership and programming networks, these 
organizations potentially offer an unprecedented 
channel of distribution for independents. 

In line with this, the Benton Foundation re- 
cently commissioned FIVF to study patterns of 
collaboration between independent producers and 
nonprofit organizations, with an eye to develop- 
ing new funding initiatives that would support 
both independent production and distribution. 



Over 50 individuals and organizations — independ- 
ent film/videomakers, nonprofit organizations, 
distributors, and foundations — were contacted. 
They were asked to discuss their experiences with 
successful collaborations, from development and 
funding through production to distribution. The 
focus was on projects where ownership (sole or 
shared), rights, and creative control were retained 
by the producer. 

Independents have worked with grassroots 
organizers, environmental groups, peace activists 
and other social advocates for a long time — often 
in difficult, cash-short circumstances. Many kinds 
of pragmatic relationships have evolved. 

Appalshop, for instance, produced On Our 
Own Land, working closely with Kentuckians for 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 43 



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CONTENTS 




12 




22 




COVER: Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing 
and Michael Moore's Roger and Me 
have both enjoyed wide exposure and 
tremendous popular interest. But after 
playing to enthusiastic crowds, both 
films and filmmakers were subjected to 
a wave of sharp critical attacks. In 
"The Perils of Popularity" Renee Tajima 
looks at what lies behind this backlash. 
Also featured in this issue are Robert 
Seigel's report on video presales, 
"Trading in Futures: The Prospects for 
Video Presales in the Nineties," and 
Alison Butler's analysis of the impact of 
changes in the funding patterns of the 
UK's Channel 4. Photo courtesy 
Universal City Studios 



FEATURES 

26 Trading in Futures: The Prospects for Video Presales in the 
Nineties 

by Robert L. Seigel 

29 The Perils of Popularity: Do the Right Thing and Roger and Me 

by Renee Tajima 

32 The End of an Era: Britain's Independent Workshops 
Endangered by New Funding Priorities 

by Alison Butler 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Love's Labor Lost? A Dispute over the Representation of Workers 
on the Air Waves 

by Debreh J. Gilbert 

Video Publishing via Public TV 

by Renee Tajima 

Child's Play Taken Seriously 

by Thelma Adams 

BF/VF Plans for Long-Term Survival 

by May Lyle 

Writers' Refuge in Boston 

by Sandra Jaffe 

The Right's Stuff 
Sequels 

1 2 FIELD REPORTS 

Dismything Objectivity: Buffalo's Video Festival of New 
Journalism 

by Richard Thompson 

Open Air Market: Independent Distributors Display Their Wares 
on NewView 

by Patricia Thomson 

19 IN FOCUS 

What the Manual Didn't Tell You — Pandora's Boxes II: Digital 
Video Effects 

by Rick Feist 

22 TALKING HEADS 

Taking Advantage of an Economy of Means: An Interview with 
Lee Murray 

by Jeff Siegel 

35 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

37 FESTIVALS 

by Kathryn Bowser 

42 CLASSIFIEDS 

44 NOTICES 

48 MEMORANDA 



JUNE 1990 



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Postage and handling included in price. 
Ask for the ATVF book list, the largest 
collection of books and tapes on media 
production, for independents, available 
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EYES ON THE PRIZE 

To the editor: 

In the March 1990 issue of The Independent, 
Karen Rosenberg wrote a detailed article on the 
Mannheim International Film Week. There was a 
critical and disturbing omission in her report. San 
Francisco independent filmmaker and AIVF 
member Dieter Weihl won the Grand prize and the 
Interfilm Award at Mannheim with his feature 
China Lake. How could it be possible that not one 
word was written about this significant accom- 
plishment? 

In winning the first prize, Weihl became the 
first American to garner this award in a decade. As 
an American independent, Weihl's achievement 
with China Lake not only deserves mention in 
your magazine, but thorough analysis, especially 
in light of your members who depend on The 
Independent for bringing forth the success of 
fellow filmmakers. 

— Wendy Braitman 
San Francisco, CA 

Karen Rosenberg replies: 

In my report on Mannheim I discussed some films 
by independents that did not win a prize, and I did 
not discuss all the films that did win a prize. I don't 
think festival reports should be a list of prize win- 
ners, in part because decisions made by juries at 
these events depend on a number of factors, not all 
of which are stated explicitly. 



FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF), the foundation affiliate of the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), 
supports a variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, including 
publication of The Independent, maintenance of 
the Festival Bureau, seminars and workshops, an 
information clearinghouse, and a grant-making 
program. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, foundations and organizations: The 
New York State Council on the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the 
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund, the 
Beldon Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, the 
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the 
Benton Foundation, and the Funding Exchange. 



fllMA VIDEO MONTHLY 



IK)EPEN)ENr 



JUNE 1990 

VOLUME 13, NUMBER 5 



Publisher: 

Editor 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 
Production Staff: 

Art Director: 
Advertising: 

National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Janice Drickey 
Mark Nash 
Karen Rosenberg 
Toni Treadway 
Jamie Shapiro 
Kelly Anderson 
Sheila McLaughlin 
Christopher Holme 
Laura D. Davis 
(212)473-3400 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ 071 10 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published 10 times yearly by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 
625 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational foun- 
dation dedicated to the promotion of video and film, 
and by the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals involved in inde- 
pendent video and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and professional services 
for independents and the general public. Publication of 
The Independent is made possible in part with public 
funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless a 
stamped, self-addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be addressed to 
the editor. Letters may be edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, Inc., except where 
otherwise noted. Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous appearance 
in The Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. The Inde- 
pendent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index. 

£ Foundation for Independent Video ond Film, Inc. 1990 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Mary Jane Skalski, membership/pro- 
gramming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau 
director; Morton Marks, audio/business manager; Carol 
Selton, administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Eugene 
Aleinikoff, * Adrienne Benton,* Skip Blumberg (vice 
president), Christine Choy, Dee Davis (secretary), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand,* Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (chair), Tom 
Luddy,* Lourdes Portillo, Robert Richter (president), 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Savage,* Deborah 
Shaffer, Jack Walsh, Barton Weiss, John Taylor Williams, * 
Debra Zimmerman (treasurer). 

* FIVF Board of Directors only 



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LO 

A Dispute over the R 




T? 

ers on the Air Waves 



American Playhouse 's withdrawal of support last 
year for Lost Eden, a docudrama by independent 
producer Elsa Rassbach, has led to a public con- 
frontation between Rassbach, PBS executives, 
and labor union leaders. According to American 
Playhouse executive director David Davis, 
Rassbach's historical drama about textile work- 
ers' efforts to organize a union in nineteenth-cen- 
tury Lowell, Massachusetts, was rejected because 
of her repeated failure to produce an acceptable 
script. Rassbach contends that the cancellation 
reflects a bias at American Playhouse and PBS in 



Black and white 

slaughterhouse workers 

confront one another in Elsa 

Rassbach's The Killing Floor, 

the 1985 pilot for a planned 

10-part PBS series on the 

history of the US labor 

movement. 

Courtesy Mode in USA. 




general against programming on the history 
and activities of organized labor. In an effort to 
encourage American Playhouse to reverse their 
decision, this spring Rassbach rallied press cover- 
age and letters of protest from the national heads 
of six major unions: Amalgamated Clothing and 
Textile Workers, Communications Workers of 
America, United Auto Workers, United Food and 
Commercial Workers. United Steelworkers, and 
Service Employees International Union. 

The rejection of Lost Eden follows a long series 
of disputes between Rassbach and PBS manage- 
ment. Lost Eden was originally conceived by 
Rassbach 1 5 years ago as one of 1 programs in a 
series for public television entitled Made in U S .A., 
which was to relate the history of the labor move- 
ment from 1845 to 1945. The series pilot, The 
Killing Floor, ran in 1984, but only after a pro- 
longed struggle. Rassbach solicited contributions 
from 30-odd unions, because corporations were 
not interested in contributing to a series on the 
labor movement. However, PBS contended that 
funding from labor unions violated PBS guide- 
lines prohibiting support from organizations or 
companies having a direct interest in a program's 



subject matter. "Programs funded by unions are 
kept off public television because they are told 
that the public might have the perception of influ- 
ence," says Rassbach. Once PBS's double stan- 
dard was widely exposed in the press, they re- 
versed their position and aired The Killing Floor, 
which went on to win several awards. 

After American Playhouse executives decided 
they would not develop Rassbach's script for Lost 
Eden. Rassbach took her story to the press, charg- 
ing PBS with an anti-labor bias. A press release 
from Rassbach's Made in U.S.A. production 
company also pointed out the fact that the grand- 
son of Robert Lowell, owner of the textile mill 
featured in Lost Eden, is chairman of the board at 
WGBH-Boston and that WGBH is among the 
four stations that comprise the American Play- 
house consortium. Rassbach stopped short of 
accusing Lowell of personally influencing 
Playhouse's decision. But in an interview with 
The Independent she asked, "If the people who are 
in control of public television are descendants of 
people who are featured in a film, are they the 
proper judges for that film?" Davis counters. 
"This is so off the wall. John Lowell or his father 
would no more have gotten involved in this than 
I can imagine myself jumping off the Empire State 
Building. We make the decisions right here." 

In an ironic twist, Rassbach had taken a treat- 
ment of Lost Eden to John Lowell in March 1989, 
asking him to help her identify funding sources. "I 
didn't feel any hesitancy in contacting him and 
asking him where to go [for funds]," she says, 
adding that he gave her the names of several 
foundations during a cordial meeting. 

Lindsay Law, executive producer of American 
Playhouse, says unequivocally that the script was 
rejected on "artistic" grounds. In May 1989, Law 
wrote to Rassbach, "As has always been true with 
this story, the potential is rich, yet this script 
seems too simplistic. The characters seem one- 
dimensional. ..and the history is forced into ex- 
pository speeches." Rassbach says she had pre- 
pared rewrites between 1985 and 1989 requested 
by American Playhouse and the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities (NEH), which contrib- 
uted S 1 -million to the project. But, she claims, the 
final draft was written well enough to meet the 
strict standards of NEH. which approved it in 
January 1987. 

Davis also rejects Rassbach's claim that Amer- 
ican Playhouse is anti-labor, but agrees that labor 
deserves more air time. "American Playhouse, 
PBS, and the rest of the movie and television 



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industry have not done well in terms of program- 
ming about blue collar workers and unions," he 
says. "But we don't get much good material." 
This, he adds, was the reason American Play- 
house was willing to develop scripts like Rass- 
bach's. 

Reacting to Rassbach's anti-labor, "upper- 
crust" charges, PBS president Bruce Christensen 
wrote Davis and the union leaders, listing some of 
the "scores" of public television programs that 
have addressed the labor movement. In a subse- 
quent letter, Lynn Williams, international presi- 
dent of the United Steelworkers of America, re- 
sponded that the four American Playhouse dra- 
mas Christensen mentioned— The Killing Floor, 
Working, Keeping On, and Billy Galvin — were 
broadcast over four years ago. Likewise, Wil- 
liams continued, the independently produced 
documentaries cited, which included The Global 
Assembly Line, Even the Heavens Weep: The 
West Virginia Mine Wars, The Life and Times of 
Rosie the Riveter, and Taylor Chain II: A Story of 
Collective Bargaining, were produced between 
four and eight years ago. Although aired on PBS, 
it was "often after a long struggle — CPB and PBS 
did not help finance their production," he noted, 
concluding, "If your letter highlights the extent of 
the labor programming over the past decade, you 
are yourself making the case for the need for a 
great deal more programming concerned with the 
issues, history and experience of American work- 
ers, who are the majority of the population." 
Rassbach adds, "Labor, as a certain share of the 
taxpayers, is getting short shrift on public televi- 
sion." 

Rassbach believes the fact that she was forced 
to separately submit each script in the series raises 
the question of independents' access to public 
television. "I am grateful to [American Play- 
house] for airing the work of many indepen- 
dents," she says. "But as an independent, I am 
forced to submit my scripts one by one. A public 
television station with a 10-part series doesn't 
take each script piecemeal to a different director." 
Davis responds, "American Playhouse has no 
apologies to make about the treatment of any 
independent or subject matter. We have never 
ducked anything, and, as long as I am here, we 
never will." 

DEBREH J. GILBERT 

Debreh J. Gilbert is a freelancer who writes for 
GQ, the Village Voice, Art and Auction, and 
Crain's. 

VIDEO PUBLISHING VIA 
PUBLIC TV 

In separate announcements last February, the 
Public Broadcasting Service launched word of 
two new ventures. Both may help independent 
producers sell programs aired on public television 
to ancillary markets. In operation since the Monte 
Carlo television festival in February is Public 



Pacific Arts hopes to 
convince home video 
retailers to set up PBS 
sections sporting the 
system's logo 
alongside staples like 
action, drama, 
comedy, and foreign 
films. 



Television International (PTI), PBS's new inter- 
national sales division. And debuting this fall is 
the PBS Home Video label. Both services will 
acquire independent programs that have been 
broadcast on PBS, as well as station-produced 
shows. 

Although PBS distributes to the educational 
market via PBS Video, it has only recently moved 
into the home video market. The network tried to 
establish its own home video label several years 
ago, but was unable to raise the $3.4-million 
necessary to launch the service. In creating the 
new label, PBS has chosen to cooperate with an 
established distribution company, Beverly Hills- 
based Pacific Arts Video. Founded in 1974 by 
Michael Nesmith, formerly of Monkees fame, 
Pacific Arts also has film production and video 
publishing interests. Currently its catalogue lists 
175 titles, including such features as My Dinner 
with Andre, The Endless Summer, and Elephant 
Parts, distributed to some 37,000 video stores. 
George Steele, president of Pacific Arts, hopes to 
convince home video retailers to set up PBS 
sections sporting the system's logo alongside 
staples like action, drama, comedy, and foreign 
films. Tapes will be priced at $19.95 for mail 
order and retail sales, and PBS stations will be 
able to buy programs on the label at a discount for 
direct sale to their own viewers and members. 

At the American Bookseller's Convention in 
Las Vegas this June, Pacific Arts will introduce 
what Steele calls the label's "starter kit." These 
initial dozen titles will consist of well-known PBS 
programs like Wall Street Week and Nature. It is 
yet not known how many independent titles will 
be picked up for the label, but Steele says they plan 
to solicit independent productions. Pacific Arts' 
regular video catalogue already includes such 
independent works as William Miles' Men of 
Bronze, a documentary on the first US regiment of 
black soldiers during World War I, Terry ZwigofFs 
film on Louis Armstrong, Louie Bluie, and Eric 



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WHERE TO LOOK FOR SUPER 8 



* Straight Up, Paula Abdul music video 

* Forever Your Girl, Paula Abdul music video 
Space Shuttle footage, NASA 

* Revolution, Nike, commercial 
America's Most Wanted, FOX 

Black Rain, Paramount Pictures, feature film 

Jovan Musk, Commercial, Clio winner 

Imagine, John Lennon feature 

Dear America: Letters Home from 

Vietnam, HBO 

This is Elvis, feature 

Flatliners, Columbia Pictures, feature 

film 

21 Jump Street, FOX 

Notorious, Duran Duran music video 

James Taylor, music video 

* A Polish Vampire in Burbank, feature 
film on USA network 
McDonald's, commercial 
Burger King, commercial 
With or Without You, U-2 music video 
Surf detergent, commercial 
Let the Music Do the Talking, Aerosmith 
music video 
Howie Mandel Special, HBO 

* Lunchmeat, feature film 

* The Jet Benny Show, feature film 

* Curse of the Queerwolf, feature film 

* Wave Warriors, II, III, IV, V, feature 
films 



* Journey to the Impact Zone, feature film 

* San Clemente Locals, feature film 

* Game of Survival, feature film 

* Doctor Strain, The Body Snatcher, 
feature film 

The Outsiders, FOX 

* Ozone Attack of the Red Neck Mutants, 
feature film 

* Desperate Teenage Love Dolls, feature film 

* Chobe, Documentary 

* Attack of the B Movie Monsters, feature film 

* Gore-met Zombie Chef From Hell, 
feature film 

Paradise City, Guns and Roses music video 
Sweet Child O Mine, Guns and Roses 
music video 



Wildcats, feature film 

Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi music video 

* Dreamin, George Benson music video 
Higher Love, Steve Windwood music video 
No A/lore Lies, Moody Blues music video 
Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen music 
video 

REM, concert video 

* In the Name of the People, Academy 
Award Nominee for Best Documentary 
1984 

Someday, Steve Earl music video 

Coming Around Again, Carly Simon 

music video 

Good Music, Joan Jett music video 

Don't Disturb Groove, The System music 

video 

* Coca Co/a, Sprite commercial 
Rosarita, Salsa commercial 
Tran & Eddie, Stray Cats music video 

* Monument Valley, PBS Documentary 
* Shot entirely in Super 8 



Brian Bleak 

— Surf Cinematographer 




"I try to shoot the best surfers 
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expensive. Kodachrome 40 is a tight grain film. On tape, it's really beautiful. 

I own my own equipment. I can grab my Pelican case with three cameras in it and 
hump down the beach and be set up and shooting in two minutes while the other 
guys are still fumbling with their clunky rigs. I really believe that filmmaking should 
be fun. And if you're not having fun, forget it. With a camera like the Beaulieu 
7008, film to video on the Rank Cintel, and the beauty of Kodachrome, Super 8 will 
blow you away." 

Brian Bleak is head of production for Astroboys Productions. He has produced nine 
Super 8 surf films during the past five years. Mr. Bleak is a major contributor to 
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Bogosian ' s Funhouse, as performed on Alive from 
Off Center. The first PBS Home Video distribu- 
tion deals are still in negotiation. 

PBS's other new venture. Public Television 
International, developed as an outgrowth of 
WQED-TV/Pittsburgh's international sales divi- 
sion. According to the public television trade 
magazine Current, the Pittsburgh station is the 
leading US public television station in interna- 
tional sales. Much of its success has been due to 
the powerhouse National Geographic series, which 
originates at WQED. 

According to Celia Chong. manager of sales 
and promotion at PTI. the newly formed organiza- 
tion will act as an agent primarily for foreign 
broadcast, cable, and pay television sales, repre- 
senting programs that have been aired on PBS. 
The current list includes a number of independent 
productions, among them Globalvision's South 
Africa Now. Kit Laybourne and Mickey Lenle's 
Media Probes, and Philip Burton's The Power 
Game: How Washington Works. PTI's station 
relations and acquisitions manager Paula Alexan- 
der will probably attend the upcoming Indepen- 
dent Feature Market in New York and invites 
independent producers to submit tapes to her 
attention at PTI's office. 

PTI classifies its programs in nine categories, 
including documentary series, science/environ- 
ment programs, news and public affairs, arts and 
music performance, childrens'/family program- 
ming, and a cross-referenced package called 
Special Collections, which it uses to promote 
stand-alone programs. Although PTI represents 
about 1 35 hours of series programming, led by the 
National Geographic specials and including such 
perennials as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and 
The Frugal Gourmet, its package also includes 65 
hours of stand-alone programming, and it repre- 
sents programs from the Native American Public 
Broadcasting Consortium. 

PTI's standard distribution deal offers 70 per- 
cent of the gross to the producer, who delivers a 
one-inch broadcast print and publicity material. 
The company generally asks for an exclusive 
three-year contract. Although PTI may shop for 
new titles among the series that package indepen- 
dent work for broadcast, such as P.O.V. and 
American Experience, it will only sign with the 
owner of foreign rights — the producer, in the case 
of most independent productions. 

For more information on PTI. contact: Paula 
Alexander. Public Television International. 1790 
Broadway. 16th fl.. New York. NY 10019; (212) 
708-3048: fax: (212) 708-3045. Regarding PBS 
Home Video, contact: Al Katabiani. Pacific Arts 
Video. 50 N. La Cienaga Blvd.. Suite 210, Bev- 
erly Hills, CA 9021 1; (213) 657-2233; fax: (213) 
657-0395. 

RENEE TAJ1MA 

CHILD'S PLAY TAKEN 
SERIOUSLY 

This spring the nonprofit media arts center South- 

JUNE 1990 



Students in the English-as- 

a-second-language class at 

the Hogg Middle School in 

Houston during production 

of Oh, Selena, the story of 

a girl's first day at school 

in America, who dreams of 

being popular. The work 

became part of the new 

series Video Adventures on 

KXAS-Dallas/Fort Worth. 

Photo: Deborah Leveranz 





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west Alternate Media Project ( SWAMP) embarked 
on a unique collaboration. Working with the Dallas/ 
Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and the 
Sony Corporation, they coproduced six pilot 
programs of Video Adventures, a new student 
video showcase hosted by local children. The 
show, aimed at 1 0-to- 1 5 year olds, aired on Satur- 
day mornings beginning April 7 and ran without 
commercials. SWAMP, which retains secondary 
rights to the f inished programs, now hopes to 
book the series in other broadcast markets, and 
KXAS intends to establish an ongoing relation- 
ship with SWAMP, starting with a full 26-week 
series that would be based on Video Adventures. 
In addition to running short works by students and 
young independents, the jhow includes tips for 
making videos at home and segments produced by 
local schools featuring events and organizations 
of interest to young audiences. 

To gather student work for the pilot programs, 
SWAMP managing director Deborah Leveranz 
solicited submissions nationwide and contacted a 
number of organizations with a history of produc- 
ing or programming children's video, including 
the Long Beach Museum of Art, Oregon Art 
Institute, Maine Alliance of Media Arts, and the 
Hopkins school district in Minnesota. Leveranz 
welcomed a wide range of formats — from anima- 
tion to documentary to video art — and established 
broad criteria for selection: originality in concept 
and presentation, technical proficiency, and the 
strength of the student's voice. The show's hosts — 
six children aged 10 to 14, dubbed the Video 
Adventures Production Crew — previewed the tapes 
to be broadcast, and their responses were incorpo- 
rated into the scripts. Leveranz was banking on 
the fact that children stop and listen when they 
hear other kids' voices. 

In addition to providing up to 29 minutes of 
programming for each program, SWAMP pro- 
duced the wraparounds, consisting of one- to 
three-minute segments offering ideas on how 
children can make their own home videos. For 
example, one show examined point-of-view, rais- 
ing the question, "What does it mean when the 
camera itself is a character (a bug, your mom, the 
bully on the block)?" Several of the student videos 



then explored this concept. Other topics included 
shot composition, animation, montage, and audio 
dubbing. When asked whether young videomakers 
were encouraged to stray from the conventions of 
commercial TV in these segments, Leveranz re- 
sponds, "My theory is you have to understand 
what the standards of commercial TV are. Then, 
when you decide to do something different, you 
are doing it because it is a decision, not a mistake." 

For SWAMP. Video Adventures is an exten- 
sion of its mission to promote media literacy. For 
KXAS, it is an opportunity to pursue quality 
children's programming that re fleets today's youth 
and their multicultural communities. As station 
manager Frank O'Neil notes, "For many kids TV 
is their creative process, where it might have been 
literature 100 years ago." 

How can this NBC affiliate manage to air Video 
Adventures without commercials? O'Neil replies 
that the station was willing to absorb the costs to 
try something experimental for young people. 
This might not sound like typical ratings-driven 
network talk, but O'Neil backed up his enthusi- 
asm for alternative children's programming by 
having KXAS cover the cost of pre- and postpro- 
duction facilities, air time, and on-air promotion. 
The funding and services provided by KXAS-TV 
and Sony were matched by SWAMP program 
funds. 

Sony gave technical assistance and provided 
15 camcorders, plus the set which, with six moni- 
tors, resembles a kid's rec room. This is not 
Sony's first outing in children's video. As part of 
the Dallas Film Festival, Sony was involved in 
Kidvids, a project at the Dallas Museum of Art. A 
Sony video specialist coached kids on basic pro- 
duction techniques, then turned them loose in the 
museum with 40 camcorders. In the future, Sony 
plans to act as matchmaker to encourage addi- 
tional corporate sponsorship of \ idea A dventures. 

This project is in itself a video adventure, not 
only as a collaboration between the public and 
private sectors but also in the partners' refusal to 
talk down to young people. The programs encour- 
age their young audiences to get off the couch and 
take an active role in their relationship to the tube. 
Unlike ABC's laugh-track-driven America's 




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Funniest Home Videos, Leveranz believes that 
Video Adventures will "open doors to different 
ways to shoot, besides just birthday parties."' 

THELMA ADAMS 

Thelma Adams is a freelance writer and film critic 
for the Chelsea Clinton News and the Weslsider in 
New York City. 

BF/VF PLANS FOR LONG- 
TERM SURVIVAL 

Weathering a strenuous five-year review and self- 
evaluation process, in January the Boston Film 
Video Foundation (BF/VF) received the first 
installment of a SI 84.000 grant from the Greater 
Boston Arts Stabilization Fund, the Boston-area 
branch of the National Arts Stabilization Fund 
(NASF). BF/VF is the first media arts organiza- 
tion to receive a NASF grant, intended to promote 
institutional stability in nonprofit arts organiza- 
tions. In addition to film and video exhibitions, 
educational programs, and a film festival. BF/VF 
offers subsidized production and postproduction 
facilities, fellowships, workshops, and a maga- 
zine for independent filmmakers in the region. 

Recognizing that most arts organizations are 
severely undercapitalized, the NASF stabiliza- 
tion strategy is to provide qualifying organiza- 
tions with a net fiscal liquidity and a working 
capital reserve. It is also meant to w ean potential 
donors from a "deficit mentality" — the thinking 
that contributions are in order only when an arts 
organization shows a deficit. Such a perspective 
ignores the fact that even when an operating 
budget is met. the underlying fiscal structure is not 
necessarily sound. "You don't need to show a 
deficit to have an unhealthy capital base." says 
Charlie McDermott. program analyst of NASF. 
"Nonprofits are often expected to operate in ways 
that others [in the private sector] wouldn't." 

An NASF grant acts as a catalyst for institu- 
tional stabilization by providing the incentive and 
technical assistance for long-range planning. It is 
not to be used for general operating expenses, but 
rather works as a capital reserve fund. Critical to 
NASF's strategy is the stipulation that the fund be 
replenished by the end of the year. In effect, 
explains McDermott. the organization "borrow s 
money from itself." NASF aw ardees are required 
to implement basic business reviews, such as 
year-to-date financial statements providing roll- 
ing forecasts and early warning of necessary bud- 
getary adjustments. But before a grant is aw arded. 
a lengthy organizational evaluation is undertaken. 
This includes the compilation of extensive pro- 
files of an organization's affirmative action rec- 
ord, fundraising. long-range planning, and staff. 

Of all the Boston-area nominees. Boston Film/ 
Video Foundation underwent the "longest review 
process, but it is a success story," says McDer- 
mott. According to Anne Marie Stein, executive 
director of BF/VF. the intensive self-evaluation 
process alone is "invaluable in breaking the month- 
to-month survival cycle." 



In addition to the Greater Boston Arts Stabili- 
zation Fund, founded in 1983. NASF also oper- 
ates in Seattle. Arizona, Kansas City, and Mary- 
land. Contact between NASF and a region is 
initiated by a local public group or foundation. In 
Boston the first move was made by the Massachu- 
setts Council on the Arts and Humanities. A local 
committee of leaders in the business, government, 
and charitable sectors is then formed, which works 
with NASF in attracting new money from the 
community to support the arts. In Boston, the 
committee matched NASF's S3-million contribu- 
tion, which has been awarded to 10 arts organiza- 
tions since the project's inception. 

Withstanding institutional stress and contin- 
ued growth is a particularly important issue for 
BF/VF this year, as it faces a 38 percent cut in the 
support it receives from the state government, 
amounting to SI 8.000. Their SI 84,000 award, 
which comes in four installments over a 5-year 
period, will help see them through the tough 
times. Also, the qualification process has left BF/ 
VF in good fighting shape. The NASF grant 
provides the fiscal foundation that will allow BF/ 
VF to expand all of its programs and purchase new 
equipment. With a coinciding grant from the 
MacArthur Foundation. BF/VF expects a healthy 
expansion this year. 

MAY LYLE 

May Lyle is distribution coordinator for Film 
News Now in New York City. 

WRITERS' REFUGE IN 
BOSTON 

A room of one's own — it's what every screen- 
writer needs. Many frustrated scribes working at 
home have succumbed to the distractions of family 
members, telephone calls, or unnecessary trips to 
the refrigerator. Now, screenwriters and other 
wordsmiths in Boston can seek quiet haven in the 
Writers' Room. Located in the State Transporta- 
tion Building and overlooking the scenic Boston 
Common, the Writer's Room is the city's first 
professional work room for writers only. Begun 
by the Artists Foundation of Boston in September 
1988. it has provided work space for roughly 22 
writers representing a cross-section of literary 
interests: poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, 
playwrights, and screenwriters. While providing 
a quiet environment, the communal workplace 
also acts as an antidote to the isolation felt by 
many writers who typically w ork alone for months 
or even years on a single project. 

The Boston room was modeled after similar 
spaces in New York City: the Writers' Room in 
Greenw ich Village, which has been used by nearly 
500 writers, and the Frederick Lewis Allen 
Memorial Room in the New York Public Library. 
Supported by fees and contributions from public 
and private sources, the Boston room has among 
its founding donors such local luminaries as David 
Mamet and Robert B. Parker. It is run by an 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1990 



advisory board drawn from Boston's literary and 
business communities. 

For a nominal fee, writers have a smoke-free 
space with an ample desk, comfortable swivel 
chair, small bookcase, lamp, wastepaper basket, 
and communal dictionary. Each writer must sup- 
ply their own computer or typewriter. Writers in 
residence have access to the room 20 hours a day, 
seven days a week. Admission to the Boston 
Writers' Room is for three months and may be 
extended for up to two years. The sparsely fur- 
nished space houses 1 1 partitioned desks and two 
offices. Writers with exclusive use of a desk pay 
$225 per quarter, while those sharing pay $175. 
The offices are available for $250, or $175, if 
shared. Anyone with a serious writing project is 
eligible, except those fulfilling a degree require- 
ment . To apply for a space in the room, a writer 
must submit a current resume, a description of the 
writing project, and several references. 

For information and an application, contact: 
Writers' Room, Artists Foundation, 8 Park Plaza, 
Boston, MA 021 16; (617) 227-ARTS. 

SANDRA JAFFE 

Sandra Jaffe is a screenwriter commuting between 
Boston and Los Angeles, who has made use of the 
Boston Writers' Room. 

THE RIGHT'S STUFF 

According to the March 12 issue of Current, the 
public television trade magazine, KQED-TV in 
San Francisco is scouting for independent pro- 
ductions with a conservative point of view to 
provide balance to their new showcase series 
Viewpoints. So far, the station has had little luck. 
"One out of 10 submissions was conservative," a 
KQED spokesperson told Current. The station 
has scheduled Crying in the Wilderness, a film on 
the persecution of Mesquite Indians by the Sandin- 
istas, to balance the "monotonal points of vie w" of 
such documentaries as Tongues Untied, A Ques- 
tion of Power, and Vietnam Vets: Dissidents for 
Peace and is reportedly soliciting material from 
conservative organizations with media depart- 
ments. 

SEQUELS 

The Center for New Television in Chicago has a 
new executive director, Ida Jeter, formerly a 
freelance consultant on media projects in Oakland 
and project director at San Francisco's Media 
Alliance. Monica Breckenridge replaces War- 
rington Hudlin as executive director of Black 
Filmmakers Foundation. Hudlin will retain his 
position as BFF president. Gretchen Dyckstra 
has been hired by the Rockefeller Foundation to 
head its new distribution entity. National Video 
Resources. The Museum of Modern Art's Lau- 
rence Kardish has been promoted to the newly 
created position of coordinator of film exhibi- 
tions. 



JUNE 1990 




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THE INDEPENDENT 1 1 



FIELD REPORTS 



DISMYTfflNG OBJECTIVITY 

Buffalo's Video Festival of New Journalism 



RICHARD THOMPSON 



Video Witnesses: A Festival of New Journalism, 
at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buf- 
falo, New York, was conceived as a showcase for 
recent videotapes covering news from alternative, 
subversive, or activist perspectives. Held from 
February 2 to 8, all the works screened at the 
festival eschewed the journalistic fiction of objec- 
tivity in favor of explicit points of view. The event 
was also organized as a forum for dialogue among 
videomakers and viewers who might not other- 
wise meet and communicate. In addition to screen- 
ings. Video Witnesses featured a panel discus- 



newshounds," says Chris Hill, one of two video 
curators at Hallwalls. "The idea of Video Wit- 
nesses isn't to institute it as an annual festival. It's 
to see how the call for this type of work is heeded," 
she adds. One of the jurors for the program was 
video artist Armin Heurich, technical director at 
Squeaky Wheel, a Buffalo film/media resource 
center. Heurich viewed all 90 entries and helped 
select the winners. "Passion was the running 
theme," says Heurich. "You felt a sense of com- 
mitment from the makers, an immediacy. They 
cared more about getting the word out about 
something than wondering, 'Is this tape savvy? Is 
it politically correct?'" 

Perhaps the most excitement at the festival was 
generated by activist tapes and the potential of 



Video Witnesses' On-the- 

Scene award went to Ira 

Manhoff' s Showdown in 

Atlanta, which focused on a 

confrontation between 

police and members of the 

AIDS Coalition to Unleash 

Power (ACT-UP) at the 1988 

Democratic National 

Convention. 

All photos courtesy Hallwalls 
Contemporary Arts Center 




sion, presentations by video producers, and an 
exhibition of Shu Lea Cheang's installation 
Making News/Making History: Live from Tian- 
anmen Square. 

"New journalism," as applied to video, is a 
departure from the objective observer/commenta- 
tor documentary style that has come to dominate 
film and video production in the US. Arguably, 
new journalism has been around for decades if 
you include the writing of Aldous Huxley or 
Edward Albee. But it wasn't until the 1960s that 
new journalism was popularized by such writers 
as Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom 
Wolfe. Typically, new journalism utilizes the 
dramatic structures of fiction to tell a story. 

To assemble the survey of new documentary 
video Hallwalls put out a call for work. "We 
wondered if we would attract people already 
involved in documentary or whether we'd get 



consumer video equipment harnessed to political 
activities — whether organizing local union 
members or forcing city officials to apologize for 
police abuses. Improvements in the ease and